In 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigators have seized a record number of toys due to lead contamination.
On November 14 at the Jacksonville, FL., port alone, officials confiscated 24,000 toys for lead and other violations that totaled around $220,000.
Some of the toys contained lead 1,000-times higher than the allowable amount.
The most common cause of lead poisoning in children is lead-based paint, like that found on some toys. Kids can get lead poisoning by ongoing exposure to the paint, or by ingesting items with the paint.
According to WebMD.com, lead can damage almost every organ in a child’s body.
“Too much lead in the body can cause lasting problems with growth and development. These can affect behavior, hearing, and learning and can slow the child’s growth. Young children [6 and under] are at higher risk because they often put their hands and objects in their mouths, sometimes swallow nonfood items. Their bodies absorb lead at a higher rate and their brains are developing quickly.”
Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
Unfortunately, some of the lead-contaminated toys do make it through customs and onto store shelves, so you need to be diligent in what kids your toys are playing with and putting in their mouths.
ABC’s Good Morning America says examine all toys for possible choking hazards or electric parts. Also, they say be on the lookout for pricey toys that seem way too cheap.
“The best way to avoid lead poisoning is to prevent it. Treatment cannot reverse any damage that has already occurred,” WebMD reports.