August 3, 2007
Lead poisoning in young children can lower IQ, affect learning ability, and damage the liver and kidneys, but there are no immediate symptoms so parents wouldn't notice if their child was ingesting lead from a toy.
"Lead poisoning often starts without symptoms at all. They can be a normal child running around but have an elevated blood lead level. and you would never know it without testing them" said James Roberts of the Medical University of South Carolina.
Fisher price during an internal check of its products found lead paint on nearly a million Big Bird, Elmo, and Dora and Diego figures made in China between April and July of this year.
The consumer product safety commission says its a particularly bad case. The lead was in the yellow paint surface coating of the toys. A blatant disregard of the ban on lead paint in children's toys.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, manned with 100 field inspectors is struggling against rampant Chinese violations or safety standards. 80% of all toys in the U.S. now come from China. And from October of last year, of the 306 recalls of products, 100% of the toys were made in China.
"We're looking at stricter test requirements for toys. We are looking for more funding and there are a couple of bills being talked about by Congress and we would be in favor of that" said Joan Lawrence of the Toy Industry Association.
While there is a ban on lead paint, there is no ban on lead content in children's jewelry. Since 2004 the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 165 million pieces of jewelry with lead that could leak out.
"These kinds of unsafe imported products flooding into our homes is going to continue until we change the trade rules" said consumer Lori Wallach.
The CPSC wants a total ban on lead in children's jewelry by 2008.
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