Health Risks with Imported Toys Trouble Parents

December 23, 2007 10:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With unsafe Chinese-made toys being recalled in massive numbers, parents are left unsure what is safe, where to buy American-made products and what to do if their child has been exposed to lead from an imported toy.

30-Second Summary

Approximately 80 percent of all toys imported into the United States come from China. That figure might alarm parents who have been reading news reports over the last few months about the wide variety of Chinese imports, from toxic pet food to defective tires, to be withdrawn from U.S. stores.

In one of the more recent developments, in early November, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered that 4 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots toys contained a chemical that, if ingested, can turn into the date rape drug GHB, a chemical that can induce seizures or a coma. At least two children have fallen into a comatose state after coming into contact with Aqua Dots.

More commonly, the dangerous toys from the Far East have contained potentially harmful levels of lead. The ledger of offending products includes Curious George Plush Dolls, by Marvel, and The Robot 2000 collectible figures and the Dizzy Ducks Music Box from Schylling Associates.

The American Academy of Family Physicians explains that if a child suffers exposure to a lead-tainted toy over a substantial period of time or ingests lead, parents should request that their doctor perform a simple blood test, requiring only a drop of blood from the subject’s finger. 

Some of the long-term effects of lead poisoning include loss of IQ points, impairments in language fluency or communication skills, memory problems, attention deficiency and diminished manual dexterity.

Lead poisoning is treated through chelation therapy, in which the child takes an oral medication that binds with the lead so it is excreted as urine.

Concerned by the recent recalls, many parents have turned to American-made toy retailers, such as Uncle Goose blocks and all-wood Holgate toys.

findingDulcinea has conducted extensive research into toys that we believe to be made in the United States or Europe and from that research have compiled our toy store.

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Headline Links: Parents concerned and confused about toy recalls

Background: Toy recalls and Chinese-made toys

Key Players: Consumer Product Safety Commission, China, and the toy industry

Reactions: Safety concerns, the CPSC Reform Act of 2007, and information from retailers

The CPSC Reform Act of 2007

Health & Safety: Lead poisoning symptoms, health effects and treatment, and lead testing kits

Reference Material: The safe toys and the dangerous ones and how to buy American and European children’s products

Safe Kids USA
Toys made in the United States and Europe

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