Many Florida parents assume that the dangers associated with lead poisoning in their children's toys are a thing of the past. However, as recently as December 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that some children's toys and jewelry could contain potentially-dangerous amounts of lead.
The United States banned lead in children's products as well as cookware, dishes and house paint back in 1978. However, it is still commonly found in items manufactured in other countries.
In addition to being found in the paint used in toys, lead may also be found in plastic. Unlike lead-based paint, there is no ban on lead in plastics in this country. The ingredient, which stabilizes and softens the plastic, can break down when exposed to air, sunlight or detergent and form a dust.
Just touching a toy with lead in it or even wearing a piece of jewelry that contains it should not dangerously alter the amount of lead in a child's blood. However, we all know that small children love to put things in their mouths. Ingesting a product containing lead or placing fingers in their mouth after touching one of these products can cause lead poisoning. It's recommended that children not play with metal jewelry in particular.
If you believe that a child has been exposed to lead, you should immediately take away the toy and visit the doctor. A blood test can determine if the child has been exposed to lead. If the child has an elevated level of lead in his or her blood, there will likely be no symptoms right away. There are treatments, however. If the lead levels rise, the child's behavior and learning ability can be impacted.
How do you know if a toy contains lead? There are test kits that you can buy to find out how much lead is present in a product. However, it's uncertain how reliable they are at finding low amounts. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls toys that it determines could contain lead. The CPSC has a list of recalled products on its website.
If your child has been harmed by lead in the blood caused by a toy or jewelry, it's advisable to seek legal guidance to determine what kind of legal action can be taken against the manufacturer and/or other entities.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Lead Hazards in Some Holiday Toys," accessed April. 28, 2015