CANTON, N.Y (WSYR-TV) — As the Holiday Season approaches and Christmas brings gift shopping, The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department is reminding parents to check toys for lead.

Many children are gifted toys, antique toys and toy jewelry that might contain lead which is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell but does have serious impact on a child’s health.

Lead has serious consequences as it can cause brain damage, slow growth, development, learning and behavioral problems, therefore, affecting a child’s health and future well-being.

Unfortunately, the effects of lead poisoning are often irreversible. Young children often put their toys, hands and other objects in their mouth, which only increases the possibility of getting lead poisoning.

If you have a small child in your household, make sure the child does not have access to toys, jewelry, or other items that may contain lead.

Lead may be found in the paint, metal, and plastic parts of some toys and toy jewelry.

  • In 2008, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act was signed into law and required
    toys and infant products be tested to mandatory standards before being sold
  • The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. Lead softens plastic, making a toy more
    flexible to return to its original shape. Lead may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize
    molecules from heat.
  • Lead dust can form on toys when some plastics are exposed to sunlight, air, and detergents that
    break down the chemical bond between the lead and plastics
  • Lead also may be combined with other metals, such as tin, to create alloys that are used to
    make toys

In order see if your child’s toy contains lead, you can check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website as it tests, and issues recalls of current products that may potentially expose children to lead.

You can also call CPSC’s number at 1 (800) 638-2272 to make sure your child’s toys are safe.

If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, or if your child has a recalled toy, take away the toy immediately and contact your child’s healthcare provider.

Most children who are exposed to lead have no symptoms. A blood lead test is the best way to find out if your child has been exposed to lead.

Your child’s healthcare provider can help you decide whether a blood lead test is needed and can recommend appropriate follow-up actions if your child has been exposed.