Lead in Toys is So 10 Years Ago

by Renee

September 17, 2007

This lead in toys story will not go away. And it turns out its been going for like 10 years.

In 1996 Greenpeace published a report titled: Lead and Cadmium in Vinyl Children’s Products. So we don’t have the same PR cache for simple headlines as People magazine, but hey at least you know what it’s about.  I’ll summarize the summary for you.

 . . . or just write it out," A Greenpeace investigation revealed the presence of hazardours levels of lead and cadmium in a variety of vinyl consumer products, including items specifically designed and marketed for children. The study was spurred by the discovery of hazardous lead levels in vinyl blinds and associated lead poisoning of children in 1996. Since no government agency appeared to be investigating whether other vinyl consumer products might also pose a similar health risk, Greenpeace initiated a nationwide study of vinyl products." 

Here are some of the findings of our investigation:

  • Lead- and cadmium-containing vinyl products are readily available from some of the nation’s leading retailers, including Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us.
  • Children are a marketing target. Products featured Barbie, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, 101 Dalmations, Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and various other Looney Tunes characters.
  • Lead -containing vinyl products are common. The investigation began by testing vinyl children’s products purchased in Chicago. Twenty-one percent of the vinyl consumer prodcuts examined contained greater than 100 parts-per-million lead (28 out of 131). Since all of the items were purchased at national chain stores, this high percentage may reflect the US frequency for lead-containing vinyl products.
  • Lead- and cadmium-containing vinyl products are widely available in California, despite its stringent regulation fo carcinogens and reproductive toxins. A representative sample of items grossly exceeded limits for exposure to lead and cadmium set by the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65.
  • Both lead and cadmium are readily available for ingestion by children. Lead and cadmium were released to the surfaces of products as they aged. Lead also became available under conditions that mimic swallowing.

And just in case you’re thinking well of course it’s not the same exact products, think again . . . a Barbie accessory tent pole was one of the products found to have high levels of lead. One product Matell is currently recalling  —- Barbie accessories  . . alright I’ll give this one to them the lead paint is on the dog and cat accessories, not tent poles. My mistake.

What the hell is going on? Why are families suffering today from a problem that was highlighted to this industry 10 years ago? What’s wrong with these people? And why are these people completely satisfied with sacrificing children’s lives for money? Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around these things. Maybe they just do this stuff because they can.



By Renee

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.