Monday, September 15, 2008

Lead in Toys Is Dead - Almost

A surprisingly sunny, clear morning, just lovely.

Lead in toys - still? Are you serious? Yes, that's right. But wasn't it 30 years ago, in 1978, that lead was banned in paint? (I guess they meant only wall paint?)Yes, that's right. And wasn't it banned because 13 million children had elevated blood levels of lead? Yes, that's right. Isn't lead poisoning really serious? Yeees, that's right. So 30 years later we're just now talking about getting the lead out of toys? Hmm, you guessed it - Yes, that's right.

It is beyond mind boggling that we are just now restricting lead in toys - you know, any toy, that a baby can bang, pick or suck. Are we so naive to assume that if our government is going to declare lead in paints unsafe for children and ban lead in all paints ( how many children eat paint chips compared to sucking on toys - hello???) that our government would also apply that same safety concern to all products that might be part of a baby's life? Well silly me! We're talking toys here, baby's best buds, 24/7.

However, this is what makes me so mad. The new lead limit became law on August 14th, 2008. (yes, that's limit, not omission-limited to 600 parts per million phasing down to 100 ppm ?*%!@#!) But, and here I go getting more wound up, it does not go into effect until February 10, 2009. That's after Christmas and after post holiday sales. How conveeeeenient. (and we know who really is in charge in D.C.) And guess which toys will have huge Pre Christmas sales in order to dump all their leaded inventory?

Luckily, despite pressure from the toy industry, leaded toys will not be grandfathered so all toys with lead levels above 600 ppm must be off the shelf Feb. 10th. Whew. Already some toy companies are whining that they have produced their Spring 2009 leaded toys and will lose lots of money. Oh Pleeease. If they had been doing business ethically in the first place, they wouldn't be in this mess.

What's a concerned parent to do? My advice is stick to classic plain old wooden toys. They are usually made with locally harvested wood, made in the USA and support local small businesses. And, it takes out the guesswork and worry factor.

It has taken 30 years to make the leap from lead in our paint to lead in our toys. Now that's a disappointment (lots of other words come to mind but...) Doesn't it make you wonder what else has lead in it? I'm sorry, I just can't go there today...

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