Lead Paint in Children's Toys: A Cause For Concern?
You've probably heard about recent discoveries of lead paint in some children's toys. There has been quite a bit of concern surrounding toys imported into the United States from China in particular, as their regulations for lead content in paint aren't as strict. While the toys recently being blamed for high lead content are brand new and made overseas, they aren't the only possibilities when it comes to lead paint. Other toys that pose this risk are those produced several generations ago, such as something a grandparent or great-grandparent once played with, that's now been passed down as an heirloom.
Lead is a heavy metal that is often added to paint as an inexpensive way to make it dry quicker, resist corrosion, and retain a fresh appearance for a longer period of time. While lead paint is much cheaper to use, it is toxic when ingested and can result in serious health problems, especially when ingested.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead somehow finds its ways into the body. This usually happens through eating or breathing in lead particles. While this may seem easy to avoid, many people are unaware that lead paint is particularly susceptible to chipping or cracking away. Young children, especially those who are prone to chewing or sucking on toys, may encourage the paint to chip away into their mouths. For a small child, even the smallest paint chip could cause lead poisoning. The trouble isn't only in metal or wooden toys like one might be lead to believe. Lead paint is often added to plastics that are used to create toys. In fact, this is likely to be the greatest source of lead poisoning in small children.
As a parent, it is important to understand the signs of lead poisoning so that it can be treated as soon as possible. Some children who have ingested lead may appear to be hyperactive or much more energetic than usual. This may lead to excessive defiance or trouble remembering things. If the toy that contains lead is not identified and disposed of or if the child exhibiting symptoms of lead poisoning is not treated immediately, serious long term effects could result. For instance, lead poisoning can cause physical and mental disabilities such as learning problems, speech trouble, diminutive growth, coordination issues, and even damaged organs.
As important as it is to know the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning, you should also know how to avoid it. If possible, try to buy toys made by a manufacturer who you can trust. Typically this means sticking to a well-known or well-respected brand name. It is also a good idea to stick to toys that state "non-toxic" on the packaging or description, as this is a good indicator that the manufacturer is aware of the elements that can be poisonous to small children and has taken measures to avoid these materials. By shopping with those who have your child's health and well-being at heart, you can avoid some of these recent well-publicized toy safety issues.