Is Lead Lurking in that Toy?

For the brightness of colours it helped to achieve, lead was used as an additive to paint all over the world for centuries. However, once we discovered that exposure to lead was hazardous to our health, its use as a paint additive was quickly cracked down on in most of the developed world.

Because lead is a serious toxin, no amount of exposure is considered safe. The City of Toronto is working to remove lead pipes from the city’s water supply, and many home owners are choosing to hire a qualified lead removal company to help address the problem of lead paint in the home. It’s a great start to address this serious problem, but there is one more important step to take when it comes to minimizing exposure to lead.

Lead Paint in Toy Manufacturing

Because of their small stature and immature circulatory systems, children are more susceptible to the dangers of lead poisoning. Given this information, it’s especially important to help protect children against exposure to this harmful substance. We can lobby governments to address problems with our water supply, and we take measures to address the presence of lead paint in our homes and work to safely remove it. But what about everyday objects that could add up to a significant amount of lead exposure over the course of a lifetime?

Once lead was identified as a harmful toxin in the 1970s, government authorities in North America were quick to ban the use and sale of lead paint. Parents breathed a heavy sigh of relief knowing that their children were now safe from this dangerous material. Mission Accomplished! Or so we thought. As it turns out, large swaths of the world didn’t get the memo. As recently as 2010, some children’s toys had levels of lead that were several hundred times higher than the allowable limit. Even more alarmingly, some of these toys were marketed as teething objects for young babies.

Where is Lead Paint Still in Use?

Though the sale and use of lead paint has been banned in Canada, the U.S. and most of Europe, there are still at least 40 countries where lead paint is still in use. In a classic case of “you can’t be too careful,” this holiday season, consider checking the country of origin for all of the children’s toys you purchase this year. Cross-reference it against the list of countries where the use of lead paint is still permitted. If you find a match, put that toy back on the shelf. It’s simply not worth the risk.

We can’t completely avoid risk in the modern world, but we can take steps to avoid danger wherever possible. Doing what we can to limit the amount of lead our children are exposed to is just one of many possible steps in the right direction. When you suspect the presence of lead in your home, don’t try to take this problem on yourself. You need the services of a professional lead removal company to be your guide.

Did you know?

Between 1920 and 1980, over 240,000 homes across Canada were insulated with materials that contained asbestos.
Find out if your home was one of them
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