Toxic Toys: Lead not only present in paint

by TJ

September 20, 2007

Did you know that lead in children’s products is not restricted to lead-based paint?  Many other children’s products especially those made of vinyl plastics can contain lead and other biologically available hazards such as cadmium and phthalates.

In a 1998 CPSC Federal Register notice urged manufacturers to "eliminate lead in consumer products," including those made of vinyl plastics. The CPSC also reminded "any firm that purchases a product for resale is responsible for determining whether that product contains lead…"

Following the 1996 revelations of lead in vinyl plastic mini-blinds Greenpeace decided to test vinyl children’s products and found lead, cadmium and plasticizers (phthalates) that were also bio-available to children.

Unfortunately the actions taken since by industry and the CPSC have been wholly inadequate. In the letter the groups cite recent examples of lead contamination in vinyl products (bibs and lunch boxes) and the need for broader testing of products, a phase out of the use of vinyl plastics in children’s products and the need for better safety standards.

As a result we recommend a three step process:

1) The immediate testing for heavy metals and phthalates in children’s products now on the market starting with young children’s products.

2) A phase out of the use of vinyl in products intended for or likely to be used by children.

3) Establish mandatory, comprehensive federal safety standards that truly protect children from lead and other hazardous chemicals in children’s products.

To view the document collection related to toy toxicity beyond lead-based paints click here.


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