Monday, December 10, 2007

Testing Toys At Home For Lead

From Dee Burlingame, Early Childhood Professional Development, St. Lawrence Child Care Council, Ogdensburg NY. - thanks Dee!

(Morning Edition) December 6, 2007 · Consumer Reports tested five home lead-test kits. Sales of do-it-yourself lead-test kits are up this season. Dozens of toys contaminated with lead have been recalled over the past year, so it's not a surprise that parents want to know whether their holiday toys are tainted. There are at least five home test kits on the market. One, called Abotex Lead Inspector, was developed by Dave Lachance. He gives a demonstration of the product using a toy car he picked up from a dollar store. He dips a Q-tip-like swab into a small vial of clear solution, and then rubs it on the car."You'll do this for 30 seconds, and then you'll start to see a color develop when the lead reacts," Lachance says. It can take up to 10 minutes for the color to turn if there's a low concentration of lead. But in Lachance's demonstration, the color began appearing pretty quickly. "You can start to see it's turning to a very dark black color, indicating that this particular car has a high concentration of lead," he says. The toy car carried no brand name, and other than a "Made in China" sticker, it wasn't labeled. Given the volume of recalls this year, Lachance says it's not a surprise at all to find lead in this toy.

Test Kit Accuracy
Consumers Union ran tests to determine the accuracy of the lead-test kits. They approved three of five products tested. The Abotex Lead Inspector kit was among those approved. The product is sold via the company's Web site for $13.
But Consumers Union recommends only two kits: the Homax Lead Check, $8, and the Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit, $18.45.
The concern with lead is hand-to-mouth activity that allows a child to swallow the toxic metal. So, Mays says, determining whether a toy has surface lead is significant. "If you get a positive result," says Mays, "you should take it away from a child."


lept said...

The problem is not simply with toys, lead and plastics - these are the tip of the iceberg:
I bought a teapot that was made in China a few years ago - a nice deep blue which means it has a cobalt glaze - and being a typical Canadian, I assumed that it would have had to follow certain manufacturing guidelines. Until the scandals about such standards in China made me realize how naive I had been - looking at the pot now, I can see how the glazing has broken down - which means that with each addition of hot water I am also brewing some cobalt and probably lead with my tea.
Another reason to buy local and support craftspeople in one's area - to whom one can pose questions directly.

Deborah A. Dixon said...

Yes, it's so hard to know what you are really getting when you buy something that isn't made locally and you can't contact the source of the product if you have any questions! Thank you so much for pointing this out Lept!

Water Testing Blog said...

A new at-home test that parents can use to test for the presence of lead in paint was released about a month ago. Definitely worth taking a look at, in our opinion.