Surprising Lead Hazards

by Rachel Rabkin Pechman

Surprising Lead Hazards

You may have heard lately about lead in toys and paint, but kids’ jewelry can be dangerous, too. There are no mandatory regulations regarding lead in children’s products, which leaves kids (especially young ones, who mouth everything) at risk for lead poisoning. And that could cause behavioral problems, decreased intelligence, and seizures, says Bruce Lanphear, M.D., a professor of environmental health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. What to do:

Don’t buy jewelry from vending machines. Despite recent recalls, there may still be some lead-based items out there.

Avoid fake pearls, which are often coated with lead paint, and jelly bracelets, which are sometimes made with vinyl that contains lead.

Call the manufacturer if you’re unsure about a product, or test it with an inexpensive LeadCheck Swab kit, available at hardware stores.

Toss metal jewelry that you can’t be sure is lead-free.

Check the Center for Environmental Health’s website

Call your doctor if you think your child has sucked on or swallowed something that contains lead.