Monday, February 4, 2008

Toys: What you really have to worry about - Part 2

A lot of the buzz about last year's toy recalls has died down, but that didn't change my suspicion of every item in the toy aisle. To me, it's creepy that there's no way for a consumer to accurately detect lead paint. There are some lead paint test kids on the market (including this one for only $12.99), but the CPSC has found them to be "unreliable".

As far as I know, your options are...

  1. Buy American-made toys, which tend to be safer but harder to find.
  2. Wait around for a recall. (Subscribing to CPSC's feed or emails will help with that.)
However, when it comes to lead poisoning, toys are not your biggest problem. The source for at least 70% of children with lead exposure is old lead paint, particularly chipped or peeling paint from before 1978, which is a lot easier to spot and should be a lot easier to avoid.

According to the CDC's "Childhood Lead Exposure" article, the other 30-or-so percent of exposure sources include not only toys but imported candies, drinking water contaminated by lead pipes, and "traditional home health remedies such as azarcon and greta, which are used for upset stomach or indigestion in the Hispanic community." (It's also been found in traditional remedies of East Indian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and West Asian cultures.)

All of the sudden, I'm not so worried about the invisible - but relatively small - threat of lead-tainted toys. The majority of lead exposure causes are much easier to spot.

Besides that, if this 70-year-old could survive extensive contact with lead paint in the days before it was banned, the odds are that today's kids will make it, too.

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Photos: 1) By Fortyseven. Creative Commons License. 2) By me.


  1. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure Legos don't have lead paint. I recommend buying those for "children" of all ages. Also on another note, When I used to shoot pellet guns more, I remember holding the pellets in my mouth as I was loading the gun. That probably didn't help me.

  2. That's funny - when I told the Hubs about this post he brought up Legos too. :) Yeah, pellets in the mouth probably aren't the best thing, but you survived. If you have time, you should check out that last link (this one). You might get a kick out of the self-proclaimed "old timer" listing all the things he's done involving lead, mercury, etc.


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