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The serious effects of lead in children’s toys

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that federal measures have been effective at reducing the blood lead level in children. For example, the CPSC limits the amount of lead in a child’s product as well as how much lead is in the paint or coating on the product. In Kentucky and across the country, toys are generally expected to contain 100 parts per million or less of lead content.

In 1978, the United States banned the use of lead in products intended for children. However, many other countries do not follow the same protocol, which is how children could still be exposed to the substance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning can take a serious toll on young people in ways such as the following: 

  •        It can harm a child’s developing brain.
  •        It can affect the nervous system.
  •        Serious cases can involve coma and even death.
  •        Low levels of exposure can result in decreased intelligence.

It may not always be easy to spot the symptoms of lead exposure. The substance does not have a smell and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Parents or guardians who notice symptoms such as weight loss, irritability, vomiting and developmental delays should seek medical attention. A blood test will reveal if children have dangerous levels of lead in their systems.

If a toy is suspected of containing lead, the CDC recommends immediately separating it from the child and taking the toy to a certified laboratory for testing. The CPSC also urges parents to review lists of toys that have been recalled due to lead content.

In the event that a child does suffer lead poisoning, it is imperative to hold responsible parties accountable. The serious consequences associated with the illness can be costly and last a lifetime. 

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