1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

February 2, 2008

:033 Toys and Lead

Filed under: :033 Toys and Lead — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – none

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet is about lead in toys.


source: Consumer Product Safety Council - Toys recalled for lead. www.cpsc.gov

1:5:10:033 Tip: Toys and other materials can be inexpensively screened for lead based paint by using a do-it-yourself lead check kit. The swabs only identify exposed lead. It is possible that the lead may be present but not identified if a sealant coat is present on top of the lead based paint and it may not detect low levels of lead.

This means a test may come back negatively but lead still be present and cause problems if a child chews through the sealant coating.


Additional Information

Swabs for checking for lead are available at most paint and hardware stores or on the Internet.

A single swab can be used for testing several items as long as the results are negative. A positive result turns the swab pink or red. A new swab would then need to be used for testing additional items.

To effectively test all layers it would be necessary to nick the surface coating to expose lower levels. This of course damages the finish.

 Each different color should be tested since a mixture of lead-free and lead based paints may have been used.

According to a CPSC study only about half the do-it-yourself tests identified lead in toys correctly. CPSC recommends laboratory testing only – however this destroys the toy. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08038.html

It is my opinion that many of the false tests were because the lead paint had a surface coating that prevented the reaction. Some may have been negative since the swabs will not test as low a level as laboratory analysis.

False positive tests can occur when the paint transfers to the swab (most common when testing red paint).


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