Lead in Toys: Could It Be Lurking in Your Home?
While many dangerous toys have been recalled, lead has been found in some that haven't made any recall list. Here's what you need to know.
Lead in Toys: Toys Still on Shelves continued...
During the past 14 months, the CPSC has overseen 31.7 million voluntary
recalls, of which nearly 4 million were due to excessive lead in toys.
The overwhelming majority of those toys were made in China, which manufactures
80% of the toys sold in this country.
Jewelry, also frequently made in China, has been the target of even more
recalls. Since 2004, manufacturers have recalled more than 45 jewelry
products involving 170 million units due to excessive lead. Even
non-recalled jewelry, however -- including some labeled "lead-free" --
has proven to be dangerous.
The New York Times, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG),
Consumer Reports, and the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., all
recently found that dangerous products for children are still widely
available. The Ecology Center has compiled a database of more than 1,200
toys it tested for lead and other dangerous chemicals at
"What we're seeing are far too many companies who have let down the bar
or who fail to do quality assurance through their contractors and
subcontractors," says Wolfson. "That's where the breakdown has
Wolfson says that while the recalls are far from over, parents need not
panic because the majority of toys in the U.S. are safe.
"We have billions of toys being brought into the marketplace each
year," he says, "and we are going to capture all the toys that need to
be recalled. Hope is on the way in 2008."
Lead in Toys: Effects of Lead Poisoning
John F. Rosen, a nationally recognized lead poisoning specialist, is angered
that hazardous toys and jewelry continue to be sold to children.
"I've seen the devastating effects of lead and it's horrible," says
Rosen, professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical
Center in New York City. Rosen has treated more than 30,000 childhood
victims of lead poisoning. "It's horrible and it shouldn't
Although most lead poisoning has no obvious, immediate symptoms, it can affect a child's brain, nervous system,
heart, and red blood cells. In extreme cases, it causes seizures, comas,