It’s December, so if you haven’t started your holiday toy shopping for your little ones, it’s time to dive in. Before you do though, make sure to read these facts on the hazards of lead, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to make sure your toys are safe for your children.
Lead is odorless and invisible to the eye, making it impossible to simply spot. Children who play with defective toys may come into contact with lead paint or dust, especially as they place objects into their mouth.
Beware of toys made in other countries and imported to the U.S. for sale, as well as collectable or antique toys that have been in the family for more than one generation, as these toys likely contain levels of lead that put children at risk.
The Use of Lead in Toys
Lead is used in two phases of toy production:
- Paint – While lead has been banned in house paint and paint on children’s toys in the U.S. since 1978, many other countries still use it. Be cautious of imported toys, as well as toys that were made prior to the 1978 cut-off.
- Plastic – Lead’s use in manufacturing plastics is regulated but not banned. Lead works to secure and soften the plastic, but can be exposed when detergents, air, and sunlight breaks the product down.
Test a Toy for Lead
While there are at-home testing kits to test toys for lead, they may not be accurate in detecting low levels that can still cause exposure risks to children. A visit to a certified laboratory is the ideal way to test a toy for lead content.
If you think your child has been exposed to a defective toy with lead, immediately get rid of the suspected toy and visit your health care provider to get your child’s blood tested for lead levels. Treatment options will be available upon the outcome of the blood test.