Sep 072007

I read blogs and news-sites and I get paranoid. I guess this happens to a lot of people. To get myself out of this state, sometimes I go for a bike ride through Suzhou’s small streets while listening to music helps (note: on my playlist is Oingo Boingo’s “Nothing to Fear”). However, I cannot just ignore my fears. I need to evaluate risks.

One big issue lately is about lead paint on toys.

Akiva and Kenaz have toys which most probably have lead paint in/on them. I cannot be certain of the toys bought in US and Japan (but made in China). But I can be reasonably certain that the less-expensive toys bought here have lead.

[A side point]If anyone wants to get Kenza a gift for his One-Year Birthday on September 29th, he would appreciate a lead-paint testing kit from Home Depot. I don’t know what Haga will want for her Birthday on September 20th. [/]

Lead has been documented to have the following effects: (from the National Safety Council website –

Young children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead’s harmful health effects, because their brains and central nervous system are still being formed. For them, even very low levels of exposure can result in reduced IQ, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing, and kidney damage. At high levels of exposure, a child may become mentally retarded, fall into a coma, and even die from lead poisoning. Within the last ten years, children have died from lead poisoning in New Hampshire and in Alabama. Lead poisoning has also been associated with juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.

Akiva does not listen to me, cannot sit still, and sometimes acts like a little bastard…I’m wondering if this is because he has been exposed to too much lead.

But really, this scares me. We have a certain not small amount of cheap toys here. Akiva has a toy bus called the Pleasance Bus, which has a built in phones set, peg-through-hole game, scarry electronic disco song tune. We also have a fake electric guitar (we received it free with a container of baby formula) which plays random, out of tune nursery songs, bad Chinese disco, the Chinese national anthem, a Donald Duck quaking sound, and vehicle / transportation sounds. Both of these toys are sold for less than $2.50 at the store and most probably have lead paint.

[Another side-point] From reading the blogs, I hear a lot of people in the US are really pissed off about the lead in their toys and are now saying they will never buy toys made in China. Good for them. Furthermore, some people are also blaming globalization and some blame the government etc. I am a little surprised that I do not hear so many people calling to permanently boycott Mattel / Fisher-Price. After all, those are the companies which provided the toys. Those are the companies which betrayed their customers’ trust. Those are the companies which had a complete and total quality control failure, thus endangering the lives of children. A failure caused by not caring really…how difficult is it to go to your supplier’s factory once a week and ask them where that lead paint came from? I don’t see how this issue should have anything to do with China. [/]

It seems that Chinese people really don’t even know that lead paint is bad. They have no idea about this. So now I got to ask…do Chinese people drive so bad because they were all exposed to lead painted toys when they were young?

I cannot find statistics on how much lead can typically be leached off of paint on toys. All the literature I have seen talks about lead coming from paint or car – exhaust, and then seeping into dirt, which then gets ingested. I’m really worried about this. We know what lead can do. But I do not really know where to get toys without lead. I do not have a solid understanding of this. I talked to a chemist today. He told me that lead tends to be water-soluble. Saliva is an acid, and is therefore more likely to leach-out lead.

I need to make a decision on whether or not we should throw out all of the toys…at least the toys we acquired in China. Akiva does not suck on his toys anymore, but Kenaz puts anything and everything in his mouth.

I have other questions though; why is it that most people in the world are not retarded? (I will not put in comments about the 51% of Americans who voted for Bush here… I will not!) Lead-paint was not outlawed in the United States until 1970, and it was not banned from gasoline until 1978. Our environment has been contaminated with lead for the past 8000 years. More relevant is the fact that ts quite likely all of my childhood toys…and all of my parents childhood toys… and all toys ever used / being used by Chinese children…all were covered in lead paint. Given this information, why should I get crazy about this now? Why is everyone getting scared about something that most people on Earth grew up with? Is this something that is going to hurt my family, or is this like worrying about that evil illegal alien child molester / kidnapper hiding in the bushes?

If any readers / loved-ones reading this have an opinion on this subject, please chime in.

 Posted by at 3:31 pm

  One Response to “China Toy”

  1. you know that there is a finger prick blood test to test for lead levels here in the US which I believe is required for school children these days. It is likely available to children in China too.

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