Lead in Children's Toys

September 10, 2007 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Baltimore

LEAD IN CHILDREN'S TOYS Over the past decade, millions of pieces of children's jewelry, toys, furniture, clothing and child-related items have been recalled by the CPSC due to hazards presented by lead content or the use of lead-based paint. Already in 2007, over 30 different recalls have been issued. The jewelry is often described as 'costume' jewelry and sold in dollar and discount stores and vending machines nationwide. Recalled toys range in size and type and are sold in multiple types of stores ranging from smaller specialty shops to large, wholesale chains. It is important to stress that lead can only pass into a child's body through inhalation or ingestion. However, as children often chew on toys and toys undergo considerable wear-and-tear, it is important that parents take measures to ensure their child's safety. What to do:

1. Check your children's toys and identify those with painted surfaces, dull metallic components, white fake pearls, jewelry with plastic cords and especially toys/trinkets with small components that may be swallowed. 2. If there are painted surfaces, check the toy for the country of origin, often located on the toy's bottom. 3. If the toy was manufactured in China or India you may wish to use caution. 4. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission Website to see if that particular toy has been recalled - www.cpsc.gov

5. You may also contact the Coalition to obtain a print listing of recalled items. * Sign up at CPSC to receive email alerts for future recalls. * If you are still concerned, you may wish to use a lead testing kit like those available at home improvement stores and online. However, these tests are not 100% accurate but may be used as a guide. * Finally, if you believe your child played with lead-tainted toys or jewelry, call your family physician to request a blood-lead test. It is recommended that any children who chew on their toys or suck on their thumb be prevented from playing with any questionable toys or jewelry. The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. When in doubt, throw it out!


Mahseeyahu Ben Selassie, MSW, MPH, ACSW, LCSW