Happy Easter: Watch Out For Lead

ImageA study done last week by Ashland (Ohio) University chemistry professor Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer found that 13 of 45 Easter eggs and toys purchased at retail outlets contained lead. “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. (The company makes Leadcheck (R) Swabs, a home lead screening tool.)

However, a study done by the University of Rochester last summer found that the Leadcheck kits are not reliable for home use. The swabs tend to return a high number of errors. The study’s authors warned that people should be aware that the tool lacks sensitivity. “We’re very interested in promoting low-cost ways to detect lead at the low levels we now know to be dangerous to children. That’s why it was important to evaluate the test,” Dr. Katrina Korfmacher said. “Our concern is that parents or property owners might use these tests and be falsely assured.”

However, Consumer Reports tested the kits last fall and found that LeadCheck(R) was effective for detecting surface lead such as what might be found in toys, ceramic dishware, and vinyl or plastic. If you are looking to test your kids’ toys, these products are fine, but if you are worried about lead in your home, you would be better served avoiding the home test kits. The bigger problem here is the federal government’s continually turning a blind eye to dangerous products imported from China.

Parents shouldn’t have to test their kids’ toys for lead. They shouldn’t have to worry that plastic could poison their children. Most of us ask very little from our government, but I think the halting of the importation of products that might kill us is something that we all can agree on. I know that times are tough, and those cheap prices at Wal-Mart look really good, but are they worth risking the health of yourself, or your family, to save a few dollars? Americans need to demand that Bush administration stop putting the health of Wal-Mart and the Chinese economy ahead of the people.

Consumer Reports:


LeadCheck Press Release:


Science Daily: