October 01, 2007

The Dangers of Lead

This will probably be a link heavy post. Lead is getting a lot of exposure of late because of its discovery in toys, but lead tainted products have been around for a long time - many common, everyday items. Lead can be found in:
  • Garden hoses (this is why children should not drink from them)
  • Ceramic glazes (The US blocks the importation of lead tainted ceramic dishes)
  • Lead Glass, including crystal dinnerware and swarovski crystals
  • Plumbing (pipes and solder)
  • Paint
  • Gasoline
  • Some candles
  • Roofing materials
  • Car batteries
  • Vinyl baby bibs
The danger from these items vary and depend on the amount of exposure. In the past the biggest concern has been focused on gasoline and paint. California has passed a law banning lead in jewelry, especially for children. Children have a tendency to put things in their mouth, so any lead containing products should be kept away. The CPSC has also issued guidelines about lead in children's products.

For years, Big Box retailers have required factories to submit any metal or painted metal products for lead testing. They may expand this to include plastic findings. So many trim details come from China, it is impossible to know if they are lead free unless they are tested. Later I will post some sources for testing labs.

The health effects of ingesting lead, especially by small children is well documented. Lead can affect adults too, especially reproductive, cardiovascular, and mental health.

Maybe I am over reacting but I trashed a whole bunch of crystal glasses (24% lead) the other day.

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