There is no safe level of lead. And yet companies are allowed to do their own testing and reporting in regards to levels of lead in their products. The consumer safety measures that are in place are not enough, in part to lead lobbyists. Lead is bad for everyone and yet it is still allowed in many new items made today in the US and around the world.
The most at risk group are infants and toddlers because they put their hands and many items in their mouths, they are small, and their brains are in a crucial state of development. But companies are allowed to make and sell baby food that contains lead without repercussions and stricter regulations. And there is lead paint on baby bottles that have not been recalled. On top of that, older items intended for children are not recalled because they met the regulations at the time, which were often none.
Products currently being made for children are regulated to be under 90ppm of lead and yet many aren’t meeting the standards. Some because no one is fully monitoring them and others because they are imported and sold by fake companies to get around those regulations (never buy things online that aren’t from a traceable company). It’s all about profit.
There are also many items being sold today that aren’t regulated because they are not “intended for use by children under 12.” Some of the items that are not intended for children but contain high levels of lead and that they interact with regularly include keys, dishes, and Christmas (etc) decorations. Children don’t live in bubbles of only items intentionally made for them that are fewer than 10 years old, and they don’t become immune to the toxic effects of lead when they turn 12!
People have been lead to believe that this is a problem of the past because in 1979 it was banned in the paints and stains of new buildings. We’ve been taught that the only way to get lead poisoned is to be a baby and eat leaded paint chips. This completely disregards all the old and new sources of lead! Even this recently published story focuses a lot on the lead levels of children 6 and under who live in old homes that could have lead paint. This direction of research and reporting disregards the very real low level lead exposure that comes from many sources in our lives, and which can lead to acute poisoning at any time.
Yes, young children in old homes in low income areas are at higher risk, but that doesn’t take into account many of the other factors such as nutrition, water sources, old school buildings, knock off toys, and, a new favorite for remodeled playgrounds, tire mulch. It also doesn’t factor in better off families who hand down old toys and furniture, live in old homes, and use all the same everyday items that contain lead. This would have been my demographic when I was acutely poisoned as a teenager.
If you click on only one link in my post, please let it be this full length film about Tamara Rubin’s consumer advocacy work that is free on YouTube. Start there, watch it, share it, and start looking around your home and community to see what ways you can reduce your lead exposure. Tamara can be found on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok under the name Lead Safe Mama.