Lead in Toys
Recalls of toys containing toxic levels of lead have skyrocketed since toy manufacturing has shifted to China, India and other developing countries that lack strict environmental laws.
While multinational toy manufacturers have stepped up their testing, it is very difficult to police the use of lead paint in foreign countries.
You can keep up with toy and children’s jewelry recalls due to lead by frequently checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall announcements and product safety alerts here: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html.
Most American children have many toys made in China in their toyboxes. It's nearly impossible to be sure that none of them have lead. So it's important to do everything you can do keep toys out of your child's mouth.
Lead damages the peripheral and central nervous systems, causing cognitive and learning delays, hearing problems, and neurological disorders like seizures. Lead can be ingested, breathed, or assimilated through the skin. Just one exposure to an object with a high lead level can lead to lead poisoning in children. Small doses of repeated exposure can accumulate to create very high lead levels.
Small children are at the highest risk for lead poisoning because their highest potential for exposure occurs when they are most vulnerable. Since children engage in constant mouthing of objects and hand-to-mouth activity, they are more likely to ingest lead from dust, toys, and other objects. Because children's bodies are building vital organs and skeletal and neural structures, they assimilate the lead more than older children and adults do. Ironically, lead is particularly toxic to children's developing nervous systems.
Unfortunately, many children do not present overt symptoms of lead poisoning. Because their symptoms (ranging from irritability to stomach upset) can be attributed to many causes, the majority of lead poisoning cases go undetected.
So be sure to insist that your child's pediatrician conduct a blood lead test at one year and again at two years old. Even though these tests are recommended by the federal government, the majority of pediatricians do not regularly conduct these tests.
Leaded toys are not the only culprit. It’s also very important to keep electronic components containing lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals away from small children.
Don’t let small children play with cell phones, remote controls, batteries and other similar electronic items until they are old enough to keep them out of their mouths.
Don’t let children chew on painted surfaces because the paint or other vinyl materials can contain lead.
Also, most bathtubs and many sinks made before 1995 contain lead, and if the enamel is worn, lead can leach from the surfafce.
Be aware that lead crystal is also a source of lead poisoning, including leaded glass in doors.
We take this issue very seriously because we personally know children in our community who have suffered lead poisoning. It is a real threat that should not be taken lightly. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.