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FOR RELEASE: December 4 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Department Offers Tips to Avoid Lead Poisoning From Toys

Recent recalls of toys that could potentially expose children to lead have prompted the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to remind shoppers to check and make sure the toys they give this holiday season do not contain lead. Children may be exposed to lead from toys that have been made in other countries and imported into the United States or from antique toys and collectibles passed down through generations. Lead may also be found in older toys made in the United States.

Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell. Children under 72 months (6 years) of age are at the greatest risk from lead exposure and children under 36 months of age are particularly susceptible because of this age group’s normal hand-to-mouth behaviors. Most children with elevated blood lead levels have no outward signs, but long-term exposure to lead may cause permanent neurological damage.

The Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at the OSDH offers the following suggestions regarding lead in toys:

  • Any recalled toy should be removed and returned to the manufacturer according to the instructions that are provided on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Web site at www.cpsc.gov. Any toys that show signs of wear (chipped or peeling paint) or have cracked or broken parts are of special concern. Suspicious toys should be removed from the child’s access immediately. A free e-mail subscription to the CPSC recall list is also available on their Web site.
  • Consult with the child’s primary healthcare provider for further assessment for blood lead testing. When assessing the child’s need for blood lead testing, the provider should use the Lead Exposure Risk Assessment Questionnaire. This questionnaire may be accessed at: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/lpp/clppp.html.

For more information about toys and childhood lead exposure, check out this fact sheet: www.nchh.org/Factsheet_Toys_Childhood_Lead_Exposure.pdf. You may also contact the Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 405-271-6617 or by e-mail at: oklppp@health.ok.gov.

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