The dangers of lead in toys: What you can do to keep your children safe

At-home lead test kits can be a 1st step in detecting lead

Inflation has families looking for bargains anywhere they can find them. Sometimes that means looking online or buying second-hand. Last Friday, we told you about the alarming spike in counterfeit items including some made with toxic materials.This morning we're looking specifically at lead.

Inflation has families looking for bargains anywhere they can find them. Sometimes, that means looking online or buying second-hand. But some bargains may not be safe for your health.

News4JAX breaks down the dangers of lead in toys and what you can do to keep your children safe.

Lead can be found in the paint on toys. It’s also used to soften plastic and can create lead dust when exposed to sunlight and air.

It’s banned in the United States but still widely used in other countries which can impact children here if the toy was made abroad.

Lead jewelry is also hazardous to children. Just wearing it won’t cause a high level of lead in the blood, but small children often put things in their mouth, and that can.

At-home lead test kits can be a first step in detecting lead — as long as you follow the instructions. The kits use chemicals to detect lead by a color change. If they turn a purple or reddish color, lead is present.

Consumer Reports hasn’t rated at-home lead test kits since 2007, and the ones it recommended are no longer widely available.

But the Environmental Protection Agency does recognize two products to test for lead: 3M LeadCheck and D-Lead. Both are widely available and cost about $20 for a two-pack.

A few words of caution: At-home kits don’t show how much lead is present in a toy. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says they produce false negatives and false positives. And none can detect lead if it is covered in a non-leaded coating. Only a certified laboratory can accurately test products for lead content.

If you think that your child has been exposed to a product containing lead, contact your child’s health care provider. Most children who are exposed to lead have no symptoms. The best way to tell if your child has been exposed is with a blood test.

You can check the CPSC’s website or call 800-638-2272 to be sure your child’s toys are safe.


About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.