Children's Easter Toys May Hold Some Unwanted Surprises

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The makers of LeadCheck warned parents to examine their children's Easter toys for lead contamination following an independent scientific survey that found nearly 30 percent of holiday toys purchased randomly at retail stores contained dangerous levels of the toxic element.

"We may like to think that lead contaminated toys have been taken off the shelves, but unfortunately the evidence shows that's not the case," said Dr. Marcia J. Stone, president and chief executive officer of Hybrivet Systems Inc., which has been making home lead detection products for more than 15 years.

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Stone was reacting to a survey this week by Ashland (Ohio) University chemistry professor Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer, who found that 13 of 45 plastic Easter eggs and other toys purchased off store shelves contained lead. Lead is a highly toxic element that can cause severe nerve damage, especially in children.

While Weidenhamer relied on sophisticated laboratory equipment to test the Easter eggs, the inexpensive LeadCheck(R) Swabs can be an effective lead screening tool for toys, ceramics, jewelry, utensils and many other household products.

"There aren't a lot of options for consumers when it comes to testing household items," said Dr. Stone. "Lab tests and other sophisticated equipment are beyond the means and simply not practical for most consumers."

To receive accurate readings, the surface being tested in some cases must be thoroughly cleaned and if it has a non-lead coating, notched or scratched to reveal the surface below. But, as Stone points out, normal play by children will likely break any seals over the lead paint resulting in the likelihood of exposure.

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