Lead is toxic to the body and especially the brain and even in low levels it can cause havoc in vulnerable, small, growing bodies. So why isn’t anything being done about it? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, one California legislator says if the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission does not work fast to regulate a ban on using lead in the making of children’s toys that she will introduce legislation in California intended to do just that.
Critics of the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission accuse the agency of not having strict enough rules to protect our children and of not enforcing the rules that are now in place. According to Fiona Ma, a San Francisco legislator, recalls by manufacturers like Mattel and Fisher Price of millions of toys and other products that include paint with lead over federal limits indicate that no one is watching the store or monitoring these manufacturers allowing dangerous toys to come into our homes by the millions.
According to the popular Consumer Reports blog site there are several things parents can do to protect their children and gain some peace of mind:
1. As always, do your homework! Start with www.recalls.gov to see if any of your child’s toys have been recalled.
2. Get rid of toys that appear to have chipped paint or plastic that has seen better days. If you are in doubt throw the toy away. Just like Mom used to say, “Better safe than sorry!”
3. Avoid giving your child antique furniture or other toys that might contain the older lead-based paint.
4. Be sure to feed your child a healthy diet as children with good diets seem to be less vulnerable to absorbing lead.
5. Store food in containers that do not contain lead. Good containers are glass, stainless steel or plastic.
6. If you live in a house that has lead pipes look into using a water filter to reduce lead levels.
7. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children under two years of age are most likely to put toys in their mouths. The Academy has a list of age-appropriate toys you might want to check out.
8. Even though Mattel and Fisher Price have recalled toys, they may be a safer bet than a ‘no-name’ toy.
9. Don’t give into the temptation to buy your daughter play jewelry. Even if the item does not contain lead, they pose a serious swallowing and choking hazard.
10. Think of safe alternatives to the toys that have been in the news lately. Think balls, non-toxic paints and crayons. Or, how about a stuffed toy that is washable?
While most recalled toys were made in China, other countries including India and Mexico have imported children’s furniture laced with lead paint into the U.S.
If you live in a home built before 1978 you may be living with lead. Keep in mind that even children who seem to be healthy can have high lead levels in their bodies. A simple blood test can reveal lead level and Consumer Reports recommends that children have their blood checked at age one and again at age two.
Finally, the National Lead Information Center (800-424-LEAD) has a wealth of information.
I am amazed! We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t find an alternative to lead paint – GO FIGURE!