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The truth about lead and children’s toys in Montana

Federal health agencies have taken steps to make sure that children in Montana and across the country are not exposed to toxic levels of lead. Unfortunately, some toys with unsafe lead content can find their way into the hands of little ones. This can happen because, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, lead has no smell and is invisible to the naked eye.

The CDC reports that there are at least 4 million homes across the country where children have been exposed to lead. Further, the agency states that around 500,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5 have led levels at more than 5 micrograms per deciliter, which is the level where the CDC recommends that action should be taken.

In order to protect children from lead exposure, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has put two guidelines in place. The first restricts any children’s products from having any accessible part with more than 100 parts per million total lead content. The second requirement is that the surface coating on children’s products cannot have any lead concentration of more than 90 parts per million, or 0.009 percent.

The effects of lead poisoning can be scary. While it can be hard to detect, some common symptoms include the following: 

  • Difficulty learning or developmental delays
  • A loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hearing loss

The CDC recommends contacting a physician immediately if parents think their child has been exposed to lead. A sample of blood will be taken to confirm whether or not toxic levels are present. Any toys that are suspected of containing lead should be shipped to a certified laboratory. Lastly, parents should be aware of any possible recalls regarding children’s products and remove those items from the home as soon as possible.

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