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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: Safe vs. Sorry

After Megan was diagnosed with lead poisoning, her mother began feeding her multivitamins that contained high amounts of iron and calcium.  Preston also increased the child's intake of vegetables and fruits.  Four months later, Megan's blood lead level was less than 10.

Unfortunately, Megan still suffers from the effects of lead poisoning.  Her speech is slowly returning to normal but is markedly delayed, and she struggles to keep up with her peers. 

Parents who are worried about possible poisoning from lead in toys can have their child screened with a quick, inexpensive blood lead level test. Norton recommends that all children under age 6 be tested annually, if possible. 

If a blood lead level is higher than 1 mcg/dL, says Rosen, doctors or health officials should assist parents in determining the cause and immediately remove it. Treatment begins with removing the lead exposure. A healthy diet can help to limit the body's lead absorption.  In most cases, a healthy diet will be sufficient to lower blood lead levels. In rare instances, a child may need to undergo chelation, which involves administration of medication to remove lead from the body. 

"One of these days, probably well after I'm dead and buried, there will not be lead in the homes of young children or in the toys and jewelry that parents can purchase for their kids, and that will be a wonderful day," Rosen says. "In the meantime, it remains to be seen how many children have actually been poisoned by these products."

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Reviewed on November 30, 2007

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