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Lead in Toys and Jewelry

Can children's jewelry or toys harm my child?

Some toys and toy jewelry have been found to contain levels of lead that can pose a serious health risk to children. Parents should carefully check their child's toys and jewelry to see if their child has any of the toys recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

How can toys or jewelry be tested for lead?

There are several ways to test consumer items or toys for lead. To learn about the different testing options, see the National Center for Healthy Homes Testing Factsheet (pdf). The most inexpensive method for testing consumer products is to use a home lead test kit, but their reliability at detecting low levels of lead has not been determined. Lead test kits are available at most local hardware stores and can be used to test for lead in many different products, including toys and jewelry. If lead is detected in any of your child's toys remove them from your child's toy box and dispose of them.

How could my child be exposed to lead from toys or jewelry?

Toys and jewelry that contain lead are a health hazard and children should not be handling them. Since jewelry may be small, children may put them in their mouths, suck or chew on them, and sometimes even swallow them. Handling lead-containing objects and then putting their hands in their mouths can also expose children to lead.

What should I do if my child has chewed on a lead-containing toy?

If a parent has seen their child chewing or sucking on a toy that has been recalled or tested positive for lead, they should contact their health care provider and consider a blood lead test. If your child swallows any toy or object, immediately call the Oregon Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Parents should also carefully check their child's environment for other possible sources of lead such as lead paint dust, soil, pottery or lead dust from the parent's workplaces and hobbies.

How does exposure to lead harm a child?

Young children are more at risk for exposure to lead because children explore their environment by putting their toys, hands and other objects in their mouths. Lead can interfere with normal brain development, resulting in permanently reduced IQ and behavioral problems. Even small amounts of lead can be harmful. Exposure to lead paint dust from older homes is the most common cause of lead poisoning and nearly half of all investigations for Oregon childhood lead poisoning found that recent remodeling or repainting was the likely source of exposure.

Where can I get more information on lead in children's jewelry or toys?

Who can I contact if I have questions?

The LeadLine, 1-800-368-5060, is a free telephone information service for parents and others who are concerned about lead and want to know more about preventing lead poisoning.

You can also contact the Oregon Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 971-673-0440.