What About Toys and Jewelry That Are Not On the Recall List?

Testing of Toys

Parents have called their local health departments asking about the safety of toys that are not on the recall list and whether local health departments could test their children’s toys.

Toy testing requires sophisticated laboratory testing to insure that none of the components contain lead hazards. One toy may contain many different colors of paints or other parts that would each require individualized testing. Another toy could be considered safe on its surface, but could contain lead that could become accessible to children if the surface were scratched or damaged. Local health departments do not have the resources to conduct that type of testing on thousands of toys and the cost to perform multiple tests on a single $10.00 toy would be prohibitive.

Testing of Toys At Home

Lead wipes and similar items have been advertised in the media for use by parents to test their toys at home. The reliability of these home lead test kits has not been well established and they may have a high incidence of false negatives. This could give parents a false sense of security that their toys are safe when in fact they may contain lead hazards.

How Can I Find Out If My Children’s Current Toys Are Safe or That Toys I Might Want To Purchase Are Safe To Buy?

If parents are concerned about a toy they currently own or about a toy they may be planning on purchasing during the upcoming holiday season, they should contact the toy’s manufacturer and ask whether the toy has been tested and found to not contain lead. If the parent cannot receive adequate assurance from the manufacturer as to the safety of the toy they currently have in their possession, they should consider taking it from their child and discarding it. If a parent cannot obtain assurances from the manufacturer about the safety of toys they are considering purchasing, they may want to consider purchasing toys for which they are able to obtain assurances from the manufacturer.

Remember:  If you live in a home built prior to the lead-based paint ban in 1978,  you need to wash your children’s toys frequently to decrease possible lead-dust hazard exposure on the toys.  Babies’ bottles, and pacifiers that fall unto the floor should be washed each time before it is returned to them.  For more information on protecting your family from lead hazards, CLICK on “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home” available in PDF within this web site. You may save a copy or print a copy for your use. If you are planning any ‘Do It Yourself’ home renovations or are planning to hire a contractor to perform those renovations in a home built before 1978, CLICK on “Lead Paint Safety A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance, and Renovation Work” within this web site to learn about lead-safe work practices and protecting your family, home, and personal possessions from being contaminated by lead dust during the renovation process. It is available in PDF to be saved or printed for your convenience.

What About The Safety of Toys Purchased Secondhand?


The current toy recall list provides dates and serial numbers of toys that are recalled. When a toy is removed from its original packaging it becomes more difficult to determine whether the toy is covered in the recall list.

Parents should use caution when purchasing used toys at yard sales and from other vendors who may sell used toys. Parents who know a toy is on the recall list should return it to the manufacturer or discard it in a manner that would not permit a parent who is unaware from picking it up and giving it to another child.

Jewelry Safety

Children’s and adult jewelry may be electroplated and may contain various amounts of lead in the base metal. Children and adolescents can frequently be seen putting necklace chains and charms on their chins and into their mouths. Infants frequently play with their mother’s necklaces while they are being held in their arms.

Do not permit young children to put jewelry or keys in their mouths.

Wash young children’s hands thoroughly if they have handled jewelry or keys.

Remind adolescents to not put their necklaces or charms into their mouths and to wash their hands frequently after handling jewelry.

Remember:  All Children should have a blood lead test around their first birthday and again near their second birthday to insure they are not being exposed to lead hazards from lead-based paint or other sources. Children living in homes built prior to 1978 and especially those children living in homes where there is chipping and peeling paint on the interior of their homes should have a lead test performed by their medical provider at least one time per year up to age six.