children's health Lead Exposure Hazard Recalls

After The Recall: What Is The Next Step?

In the last few months there have been many children’s toys recalled due to lead poisoning hazards.

Too much lead in the body can cause irreversible issues with the growth and development of children, including behavioural problems, hearing problems, learning problems with slowed growth.

Parents need to start to do more research into where their toys are made. Try to support products that are made with non-toxic paints and finishes.

There are quite a few European and North American companies that produce creative toys that will not harm your child.

The price point is a bit higher, but the quality and craftsmanship make it worth the extra investment.

Eighty per cent of toys sold worldwide are made in China. An investigation by earlier this summer also revealed that 96 percent of all toys recalled during the first part of the year were made in China. That number is huge.

If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of lead poisoning your doctor can order a blood test that will reveal if their level is too high.

Children with chronic lead poisoning may show slightly lower intelligence and may be smaller in size than children their age who do not have lead poisoning. Behavioural problems can include irritability or aggressiveness, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, lethargy, and loss of appetite

If you haven’t already, you must clear out your child’s toybox of all of the toys on the recall list. You can search here all of my posts that have lead poisoning issues. There have been so many it may be a good idea to review them, to be sure none were missed.

What you can do to protect your children

  • Avoid purchasing toys from vending machines. In 2004, 150 million pieces of children’s jewelry in the U.S. were recalled from vending machines.
  • Avoid toys that have small parts that could be swallowed, especially if the parts are metal or metallic.
  • Avoid glossy fake pearls that may be coloured with lead paint.
  • Test suspicious jewelry. LeadCheck swabs are available at most local hardware stores and can be used to test products you purchase for your child. Swabs turn pink when lead is detected. You can also order test kits online at
  • Get your child tested, as this is the only sure way to know if your child has been exposed.

How can you tell if your child’s toys contain lead?

While it’s difficult to tell if a product contains lead just by looking, here are a few tips that may help you identify it:

  • Dull, grey-looking metal.
  • Pieces that seem heavy for their size.
  • If you rub a piece of jewelry against a sheet of paper and it leaves a grey line, it’s probably made of lead.
  • Bright colours, especially orange and red.
  • Soft plastics, as lead is used as a stabilizer to help keep the plastic soft.

You can test for lead in toys and jewelry on your own. There are several lead testing kits available, mainly through paint stores, large hardware store chains and online.

This problem is both scary and maddening at the same time. One would think that the government would protect our children by not allowing these products to be sold in the first place, but I guess that is asking too much.

Health Canada no longer tests toys or jewelry suspected of lead contamination, but encourages consumers to contact the National Capital Region Consumer Product Safety Bureau if they have concerns.



About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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