Thursday, March 26, 2009

How serious a problem is lead in children’s toys?

Answer: Lead contamination of imported toys is an emerging issue and has been going on for a long time. We’ve seen lead in colorants used in imported candy from Mexico and in cans of imported juices from countries where they still use lead in the solder. Lead was also detected in children’s jewelry imported from China, which resulted in at least one death.

I think what it comes down to is that we need closer tracking of the products that come into the country. We need to pay attention to and insist on better quality from suppliers in other countries. Even though this has been a problem for some time, it seems to be a more significant problem now because so many products are coming from other countries. Most of the toys sold in U.S. stores today are imported.

We have to realize that we have trading partners that do not have regulatory systems in place that assure product safety. Some rethinking is needed, because only so much can be done in terms of the U.S. testing everything that comes across the border. It’s encouraging when companies step up to the plate. Wal-Mart volunteered to test the jewelry it buys from China to ensure it was lead-safe for kids.

Use the Heavy Metal Screen Test to check for metals in food, water, toys, and your own body.

Until next time,

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