Top 10 [Surprising] Toy Recalls Due to Lead.

Via Jeff Meyer
on Dec 4, 2010
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Add a few more to the ‘Buyer Beware’ List.

1. Belts…from Target

2. Brine LAX Gloves

3. McDonald’s Shrek Glasses. I’d beware of most things from McDonald’s though.

4.  Toy Figurines [including army  figures, toy horses, and Disney Fairies]

5. Titanic Toy Boat. Going down—yet again

6. Nordstrom Girls’ Shoes

7. Earth Friendly Wooden Toys [Okay not for lead, but recalled for choking hazard. Yikes!]

8. Children’s Art Easel

9. Mini Stuft Sport Balls

10. Timberland Kid’s Boots?!

For the entire 150+ toy recalls as a result of high levels of Lead and Cadmium, check out The Daily Green. Also check out the Top Green Toys of 2010.

This led to some further research.

Why did we use lead paint in the first place?

  1. White lead is very insoluble in water, making the paint highly water-resistant with a durable, washable finish.
  2. Lead carbonate can also neutralise the acidic decomposition products of some of the oils that make up the paint, so the coating stays tough, yet flexible and crack-resistant, for longer.

I had always heard that lead was harmful to life, and always took their word for it, but I found out exactly what is so terrible about manufacturers cutting corners in their production.  Thanks to a little help from RSC, I was able to find out specifics.

  1. It’s known to be a potent blocker of receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter crucial for learning.
  2. It is also able to displace a series of other metals from doing their normal job in the body – most significantly, calcium, iron and zinc.
  3. A particular problem is that lead displaces the zinc from the enzyme delta-aminolaevulinate dehydratase, which is crucial for the biosynthesis of heme, the iron-binding part of the haemoglobin molecule that carries oxygen around the blood. This results in cells around the body being short of oxygen, causing a cascade of associated problems.

Put all that together and we have the story of manufacturers in China, trying to cut corners to make more money selling us cheap stuff we probably don’t need.


About Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Philosophy program, an avid reader, and cyclist—both mountain and road. When not reading or writing, he spends his time as a teacher’s aide, a soccer coach, or catching up on his favorite sports team.  You can visit his blog if you want to read more.


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