Safer Toys

Consumer Watch In products primarily intended for children, new consumer product safety regulations put limits on the total amount of lead to 600 parts per million starting in February 2009. And that limit will be lowered to 300 parts per million in august 2009.

Some big retailers, including Wal-mart, say they've already instituted new safety measures. Toys-r-us says all new products coming into its stores must meet the government's 300-parts-per-million limit now.

And a consumer reports' investigation has found that products it identified last year as high in lead are largely gone from store shelves.

That includes the red cuff on this fisher-price blood pressure monitor. And there was no lead in the blue cuffs that consumer reports tested. While consumer reports' tests last year found the caps of some Elmer's Glue Sticks contained lead, a screening of these new glue caps found they do not contain the toxic metal.

Even if a toy has been recalled, it can turn up anywhere, in stores, yard sales or online. You can check to see if it's been recalled on the consumer product safety commission website:

Home lead tests can be a useful first step in screening for surface lead. Consumer reports recommends these three kits: the household lead check, the instant lead testing kit from Lead Check, and Abotex's lead test kit.

But be aware they can't detect lead beneath the surface.


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