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...
- Buy American-made toys, which tend to be safer but harder to find.
- Wait around for a recall. (Subscribing to CPSC's feed or emails will help with that.)
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.