Can You Check Your Child’s Toys For Lead?

After all of the recent recalls, you may be worred about whether the toys that you have that haven't been recalled (or, at least, not yet) contain lead.  You can check your children’s toys and other items for lead at home. Lead Check™ and similar products allow you to check for the presence of lead on the surface of toys and other items.  They are based on a color system.  The swab’s tip turns pink in the presence of lead (barring any interference).  But, this test only tells you whether lead is present.  It does not tell you the amount of lead.  It also only detects lead present on the surface.  Some government agencies do not recommend such home test kits because the tests can give false positive or false negatives.

If you do want to use such a test kit, make sure you follow the instructions for the surface you are testing.  For example, for paint wood toys or vinyl toys, Lead Check™ recommends that you: (1) make sure the surface is clean; (2) prepare the surface by making a small cut into the paint (painted toy) or roughing up the vinyl surface (vinyl toy); (3) immediately rubbing the activated swab over this area while squeezing the swab gently; (4) rubbing the swab vigorously over the test area for about 30 to 60 seconds; and (5) examining the swab tip, and then examining it again in an hour.  If any pink color appears (barring the transfer of red paint directly from the toy to the tip), then lead is present.

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