Products tainted with lead are on the increase

Read the labels on products you buy these days. Be on the lookout for dangerous and deadly lead.

Unfortunately, the incidents of toys containing unacceptable lead levels has increased over the last few years to the point that consumers really need to be aware of what they are buying for their children. In a recent lead debacle in California, Wal-Mart and Target stores were selling toys that contained lead levels 70 times the allowable limit. That bears repeating: Seventy times the allowable limit. What were the manufacturers thinking?

The products involved in this case were kid’s boxing gloves and beanbag chairs. What was that amount of lead doing in boxing gloves and beanbag chairs? These items weren’t recalled, but they were pulled off the shelves. Were they pulled off the shelf in enough time to make sure no child had one? That’s hard to say, and frightening to contemplate at the same time.

Levels of lead that high have the potential to inflict permanent damage; damage that may include slowed growth for your child, developmental disabilities and cognitive delay. Any children exposed to these kinds of levels over a long period of time may also need intensive and extensive rehab and special education. This, of course, is extremely expensive; a difficult situation for many cash strapped families today.

By law, toy makers, importers, distributors and retailers are responsible for injuries caused by their defective products being sold in the marketplace and sold to children who may come to great harm handling toys with lead levels more than 70 times higher than the acceptable levels. Of course, the burning question of the day may well be just what is really an acceptable level of lead to expose a child to? Most parents would answer that the most acceptable level would be none.

Not sure where to find out about defective products and products containing lead? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does have a website specifically designed for consumers, offering that kind of information. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts for the latest product recalls through Google Alerts. The amount of information on hand about products like this will stun you, but, it’s better to be informed that ignorant.  What parent wouldn’t want to know all they could about dangerous products and toxic toys?

Scott Atkinson was admitted to practice in New Mexico in 1989 and is a New Mexico personal injury lawyer and New Mexico wrongful death lawyer with the Atkinson Law Firm, LTD. Learn more at or call 1.505.944.1050.