As parents purchase toys for their little ones this holiday season, they should keep in mind the risks of lead have not gone away. Most adults think of homes with old paint when they consider lead, but unfortunately, the hazardous material is detected in modern and hand-me-down toys.
For example, in November, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sent a letter of advice to New Forest Toys Factory regarding their model T4534 fire engine. The letter stated lead was found in the product and the company was to stop the sale and correct the issue before resuming distribution of the toy.
The history of lead
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. government banned lead from house paint, toys, dishes and cookware in 1978. But, the use of lead in plastics has not been banned in the U.S., meaning plastic products exposed to air and detergents can break down, forming a lead-filled dust.
Additionally, lead remains a common ingredient in products made in countries outside of the U.S., and sometimes, these items find their way into the U.S.
What can parents do?
There is no home test kit for lead, but if parents are worried about a particular toy, they should take it away from their children immediately. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic stated signs of lead poisoning are irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation and hearing loss. If parents notice any of these symptoms in their children, they should take them to a physician right away.
Parents and caregivers should also check the CPSC website for child toy recalls to find out if their kids may be playing with toys with lead.