Toys With Lead

As parents, you want to make sure you provide your children with a safe and loving environment. You invest in the right home insurance, furnish your home with child-friendly furniture, and make sure everything is safe and secure. That’s why it’s so upsetting to hear that your child’s toys could be harmful to their health.

Lead in Toys
Although lead in paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, it is still widely used in other countries, mainly because of its versatility, affordability and availability. That’s why lead can be found in the paint of older toys made before the ban, and toys made in other countries that still use lead-based paint. Lead can also be in plastics. Lead is used to make plastic more flexible and retain its shape in heat. When exposed to elements such as detergents, sunlight, and air, a dust forms and when ingested, that dust can be hazardous.

Health Hazards of Lead
Children are poisoned with lead by touching a product made with lead and then bringing it into their mouths. Very young children, who are notorious for sticking anything they can get a hold of in their mouths, have the most potential to exposure. Generally, children under the age of six are especially vulnerable. Lead can greatly affect mental and physical development, although a child with lead poisoning may not display any visible signs or symptoms so it can be difficult to spot if a child has been exposed to lead. Most children, in fact, don’t show any signs or symptoms, despite the elevated levels of lead in their blood. Examples of effects, however, include hyperactivity, decreased hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and reaction time. Very high levels of exposure can lead to neurological disorders such as convulsions, coma and even death. The only way to tell if a child has some lead poisoning is to have a blood lead test, which can be discussed with a doctor. When it comes down to the harmful potential of lead, all toys with the chance of containing lead should be removed from the home and destroyed so that it cannot get into the hands of another child.

Detection of Lead
Unfortunately, you simply can’t look at a toy to tell if it has lead in it because you can’t see it with the naked eye. It is also odorless. There are a number of lead detection kits on the market today but health authorities agree that these kits can be unreliable. Unfortunately, having a toy tested at a certified laboratory is the only sure way to test a toy for lead.

Keep an Eye Out for Recalls
One of the best things you can do to prevent your child from harmful lead exposure is to keep up-to-date on the recalls that The Consumer Product Safety Commission issues. Recalls can be found on their official website or hotline. Some people also prefer to buy toys only made in the U.S., not letting children play with antique or very old toys, and staying away from very cheaply made toys, such as those found in dollar stores and those quarter and gumball machines.