Thursday, December 18, 2008

This Holiday Season Check Out

I commented yesterday on Autism and Lead Poisoning and the possibility that lead may be associated with the autism crisis, the startling increase in cases of autism for which most North American states and provinces remain woefully ill prepared.

While lead poisoning MAY be connected with autism development further research is required to confirm any such connection. There is no doubt, however, that lead is harmful, it is dangerously harmful, particularly to young children, and it is still contained in many children's toys and jewelry items. Parents this holiday season will find it very helpful to check out a project of the Ecology Center. I found these sites via One Special Place for Parents of Kids and Adults with special needs a blog site which I also recommend.

The EcologyCenter and issued a press release on December 3 which states in part:

The Ecology Center determined that one-third of the toys they tested had "high" or "medium" levels of chemicals of concern this year. Lead was found in 20 percent of the toys tested, including 54 products (3.5 percent) that exceeded the 600 parts per million (ppm) state legal limit set last year and 164 (10.7 percent) above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm. Children's jewelry remains the most contaminated product category.

... Researchers tested for chemicals that have been associated with reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer, and that have been identified by regulatory agencies as problematic. Babies and young children are the most vulnerable populations because their brains and bodies are still developing, and because they frequently put toys into their mouths. The testing was conducted with a screening technology — the portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer — that identifies the elemental composition of materials on or near the surface of products. Highlights from the 2008 findings: * Lead is Still in Toys — found lead in 20 percent of all the products tested this year. When children are exposed to lead, the developmental and nervous system consequences can be irreversible. The Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids platform calls for implementing the American Academy of Pediatrics threshold level of 40 ppm for toys sold in Michigan. * It's Not Just Lead — found that 2.9 percent, or 45 products, had bromine at concentrations of 1,000 ppm or higher. This indicates the likely, unnecessary use of brominated flame retardants — chemicals that may pose hazards to children's health. HB 4465, pending in the state House, would severely restrict the use of one type of brominated flame retardant. Arsenic was detected at levels greater than 100 ppm in 22, or 1.4 percent, of products; 289 (18.9 percent) of products contained detectable levels of arsenic. Mercury was found above 100 ppm in 14 (1 percent) of products; 62 (4.2 percent) of products contained detectable levels of mercury. The Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids platform calls for no more than 40 ppm of mercury or arsenic in children's products.

Jewelry — Jewelry remains the most contaminated product category tested. Children's jewelry was five-times more likely to contain lead above 600 ppm than other products tested by has several pages of helpful information for people buying toys and jewelry this holiday season including several pages of toy rankings by brand, type, best toys and worst toys. Toys listed on the best toys page had no detectable traces of Lead, Cadmium, Chlorine, Arsenic, Mercury, Antimony, Tin, Bromine, or Chromium in any components tested. Toys listed on the worst toys page are those found to contain lead, brominde, cadmium, arsenic or mercury.

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