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Lead in Toys

In June 2007, 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys were recalled for a potential lead poisoning hazard. Many of the red painted engines and signposts (and some of the yellow ones) manufactured between 2005 to 2007 in China included a surface paint that contained lead. If enough lead is ingested, it can have toxic effects.  The paint posed a risk because young children who play with the Thomas toys are likely to put the toys in their mouths. Lead can also be aerosolized and inhaled in the form of a fine lead dust.

5 Toys Recalled in 2009 for Lead Hazards

  1. Abalone and Venetian Carnevale Necklace Craft Kits, imported by Action Products International Inc., of Ocala, FL
  2. High School Musical Manicure Kits, imported by Fantas-Eyes Inc., of New York, NY
  3. Shakespeare Casting Game and Fishing Kits, distributed by Pure Fishing Inc., of Columbia, SC
  4. Construction Play Sets, manufactured/distributed by DDI Inc., of Dubuque, IA
  5. "High Speed" Pull Back Toy Cars, imported by TDI International, of Los Angeles, CA

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issues recalls for toys shown to have unhealthy amounts of a certain chemical. These toys should be returned to the manufacturer instead of trashed or donated to a second-hand store to keep heavy metals out of landfills and our drinking water.


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What Moms Can Do about Lead in Toys

In light of recent toy recalls and rising fears about lead in pipes, paint, and toys, Dr. Cara Natterson weighs in:

If and when there is another toy recall for leaded paint, don't panic. Clear the toys out of your house if you have a toddler who puts everything in his mouth. But if you have older kids who are no longer oral and who wash their hands well, and if you only have a few potential hazards here and there, you don't need to break out in a cold sweat.

It is a better use of your time and energy to consider more likely sources of lead. There are lots of websites with good basic information about identifying lead risks in your own home. If you live in a home built before 1978 and it has not been completely remodeled (or the paint has not been stripped), you can consider lead abatement. This needs to be done by a professional. There is no point in trying to remove the leaded paint from your home, all the while exposing yourself and your family to lead in the process.

You should also think about lead exposure if your pipes are leaded or use lead solder. Water can be tested for lead content. Warm water leaches lead much better than cold, so if you think you could have lead in your pipes, use only cold tap water for drinking and cooking. Many people also suggest running the tap for 15 to 30 seconds prior to use to wash out the lead residue.

Do not buy canned foods imported from other countries if possible. The U.S. has banned the use of lead solder in canned foods, but imported cans may still use lead.

The bottom line on lead: Ask your pediatrician to check your child's lead level if it hasn't already been done. This is a fairly easy test and can be very reassuring.

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Related Momlogic Stories about Lead in Toys

  1. The Truth about Lead
  2. Time for a Toycott?
  3. Warning: Post Contains Lead-Based Paint

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