Lead in Toys and Toy Jewelry
This page describes EPA actions related to lead in toys and children’s toy jewelry. The page also provides links to information on other Federal government Web sites that can help you protect your children against lead hazards, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) list of recalled products.
When a child puts an object containing lead in his or her mouth, the child can suffer seriously from lead poisoning.
- In 2004, the threat of lead poisoning from toy jewelry led the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to conduct a voluntary recall of 150 million pieces of metal toy jewelry sold widely in vending machines.
Toy jewelry containing unsafe levels of lead has continued to be sold even after CPSC issued guidance to prevent the sale of these products. Other products containing lead have also been recalled, such as crayons, chalk and clothing.
- For a list of recalls, including recalls for products containing lead, visit CPSC's Toy Hazards Recall Listing.
- Learn what to do if you suspect your child has swallowed toy jewelry (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Federal Government Actions to Address Risks from Lead in Toy Jewelry
EPA and other federal agencies are using their statutory authorities to address risks for lead in toy jewelry.
January 29, 2008 –Under section 8(d) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) EPA issued a final rule adding lead and lead compounds to the TSCA health and safety data reporting requirements. This rule required certain manufacturers (i.e., under the rule, manufacturers of consumer products intended for use by children who also manufacture lead or lead compounds) to submit to EPA by April 28, 2008, any unpublished health and safety studies that related to the lead content of consumer products intended for use by children or that assess children's exposure to lead from such products, excluding children's metal jewelry. Importing children's products that contain lead or lead compounds constitutes the manufacture of lead or lead compounds under TSCA.
EPA reviewed the health and safety data submitted as a result of the rule and consulted with the CPSC where appropriate to address concerns identified by the data with respect to lead-containing products. EPA's rule is directed at children's products other than metal toy jewelry, for which less lead exposure information is available.
Test kits for consumer products
CPSC has evaluated whether commercially available lead test kits reliably and accurately detect the presence or absence of lead in consumer products, such as toy jewelry and children's vinyl toys. Based on this evaluation, CPSC does not recommend that these test kits be used for consumer products. CPSC’s analysis was specific to consumer products and was not conducted on lead-based paint used in housing.
Test kits for lead in paint in residences and child occupied facilities: Research on the use of lead test kits for testing lead in paint used in housing has been conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST found that the test kits currently available do reliably detect the absence of lead-based paint. Read more about EPA-approved test kits for lead-based paint.
August 2, 2007 - CPSC issued a press release announcing the Fisher-Price recall of 967,000 toys due to lead poisoning hazard.
April 30, 2007 – EPA sent a letter to CPSC describing its continued concerns about lead in children's products (PDF). (2 pp, 77K, About PDF)
EPA also sent letters to 120 companies alerting them to requirements under TSCA section 8(e) (PDF) (3 pp, 125K,About PDF):
"[a]ny person who manufactures, processes, or distributes in commerce a chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment shall immediately inform the Administrator of such information unless such person has actual knowledge that the Administrator has been adequately informed of such information." 15 U.S.C. § 2607(e)
Recipients of the letter were either a party to a settlement with the State of California regarding lead in toy jewelry or were participants in a recall of children's products containing lead.
In response to a Sierra Club's petition submitted in April 2006, CPSC published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (PDF) (3 pp, 59K, About PDF) to ban children's jewelry containing more than 0.06 percent lead.
April 21, 2006 - The Sierra Club submitted a petition to EPA and CPSC to take certain actions regarding lead in children's products. EPA denied two of Sierra Club's requests in July 2006, and Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging that denial in September 2006. On April 13, 2007, EPA and the Sierra Club reached a final settlement (PDF) (7 pp, 412K, About PDF).
Under the settlement, EPA agreed to:
- Initiate a rulemaking to obtain existing health and safety studies on lead in children's products.
- Notify a number of companies of their obligation to inform EPA if they obtain information that products they manufacture or import present a lead-poisoning risk to children.
- Inform CPSC of concerns regarding corporate quality-control measures.
To find out more about your child’s potential exposure to lead from toy jewelry, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Lead in Toy Jewelry Questions and Answers.