Using old toys may cause risk of lead poisoning exposure


Young children are at the highest risk for lead poisoning, but linking vintage toys to this threat is a new one.  

High levels of lead in used toys may be of concern to many parents as day cares and other centers may be using vintage toys.
— Michael O'Shea

A study found lead, cadmium and even arsenic in an alarmingly high number of plastic toys made in the 1970s and 1980s.

One in four toys contained more than 10 times current safety limits for lead; a third of non-vinyl toys violated standards for both lead and cadmium; and a fifth contained arsenic.

Researchers from St. Ambrose University conducted this study and noted, "The developing brains and bodies of infants and young children are especially vulnerable to toxic exposures because they absorb and retain lead more efficiently than adults."

While many may find it to be cost effective and even beneficial to use old toys passed down through the generations, doing this can potentially increase your child’s risk of lead poisoning.

Lead Poisoning Victory for Us and Poisoned Children

lead poisoning photo
lead poisoning photo

Our firm recently won a big appeal at the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals.   We had attempted to secure vital information under the Ohio Public Records Act concerning the work being done (or not done) by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in the area of lead poisoning prevention.    The Board of Health had refused to release ANY records concerning their duties - claiming that they were protected by Ohio law from disclosing their work.  The Court of Appeals disagreed - and stated, in part: "In this case, the BOH is currently operating a lead hazard control and health homes program under a $3.4 million federal grant and 'endeavors to pursue elimination of lead hazards each year.' Affidavit of BOH Commissioner Terry Allan, ¶ 16. Release of the requested information could likewise help to hold the BOH accountable for its duty and promise to reduce lead-related hazards in Ohio’s largest county and reveal its successes or failures in doing so, also without requiring the release of prohibited information."

In short, the opinion stated that we (the persons requesting the records) serve a vital public purpose by holding public entities "accountable" for the public duties imposed upon them.   Hopefully, we will get the records soon and we (and you) will know what they have been doing with the public money designed for lead poisoning prevention.

Stay tuned.