5 Things To Do To Avoid Lead Poisoning

Consumer Reports has five things parents can do to avoid poisoning their children with leadly toys:

Check your toys against recalls.gov, and avoid older toys.
To avoid lead exposure from sources in the home, keep floors and other play areas clean and free of dust and debris…

Avoid no-name products…
Board and picture books, unpainted wooden toys, balls, non-toxic paints and crayons and washable stuffed animals are good bets.
Even children who appear healthy may have high levels of lead. A simple blood test can detect lead levels in children and some states require them.

Read the blog post for more suggestions under each heading.

The revelations that more and more toys are found to contain toxic lead levels has parents worried, but a series of proactive steps can protect your house, children, and peace of mind.

Five things parents can do to avoid lead poisoning [Consumer Reports]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    6) Avoid buying toys all together. A simple plastic bag or frayed electric cord can provide hours of entertainment for your child.

  2. usmadetoys.com !

    I have always found toddlers in particular can be amused for hours on end with a paintbrush and a container of water. “Go paint the patio.” By the time they get to the end, the beginning is dry, so they start over. Who needs toxic Elmo?

  3. ju-ju-eyeball says:

    What I seem unable to find is ‘How much lead is too much?’ How many paint chips do you have to eat to be poisoned? How hyped is this?

  4. Thoria says:

    How does only buying name brands help, when even the biggest name brands, like Mattel, have lead problems too?

  5. anatak says:

    Our family doctor used to only recommend lead tests for children who live in older homes (and thus could have lead paint in them). Now he recommends it for ALL children. Its the right move, and a small sacrifice.

  6. erica.blog says:

    Sadly, this will protect kids whose parents have time to do all these things. It won’t do anything for low-income kids, who are more at risk anyway.

  7. bluesunburn says:

    Let’s find out. Start eating. :-)

  8. pestie says:

    @B: Hell, those can entertain a kid for the rest of their lives!

  9. ndonahue says:


    Lead test measure in micrograms per deciliter. The CDC starts caring when a kid tests out at 10µg/dl or more. Some people will argue that the damage to kids occurs at lower levels.

    Lead levels in blood are dependent on vector. Basically, if the kid eats paint chips that have a high concentration of lead, it doesn’t take much. Breathing lead dust in the air can have a significant impact over time.

    Get kids tested annually in their checkup, and pay attention to the number as well as the year-over-year change. If the kid goes from 1-5 in a year, think about what might have happened. If it’s an old house, then the issues might be lead paint chips, lead dust (from painted windows and doors opening and closing), or perhaps lead in the soil. How the kid spends his time can give clues to the source.

    Eating an iron rich diet can help remove lead from the system, but it’s better to avoid the lead and eat lots of spinach anyway.

    To the question of hype — the problem with lead is that the poisoning is cumulative and often the developmental damage to kids can happen before the parents know there is a problem. In the case of all the recent recalls of Chinese products, the importance of the lead issue isn’t just about safety for kids — it’s about two much larger issues of: 1) traceability of components, and 2) adherence to US product standards.

    The US enforcement of food and products imported into the country is based on spot-checks that assume the vast majority of products adhere to the rules. As Chinese products increase in share of US imports, and as the Chinese struggle with domestic enforcement, every issue, be it lead in paint, or antibiotics in fish, or ethlyene glycol in toothpaste highlights just how delicate a bubble of perceived safety and security we live in.

  10. rhombopteryx says:

    Like NDonahue sez, the CDC can provably detect bad things (“increased risk for learning and behavioral problems”) at the CDC levels. Below that, it is no longer statistically provable, but there’s still a measured correlation – declining lead levels have a matching decline in negative effects. [www.cdc.gov] This trend, plus the absence of any need for lead in human bodies, is why the World Health Organization can comfortably say “unsafe at any level.” ([www.scielosp.org] ) Good news is less than 5% of US kids are now above that level, down from 80% earlier.

  11. snowferret says:

    OMG lets have more articles about lead!
    *panic panic panic*