Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Home Lead Test Kits

Home Lead Test Kits
The other day I saw one of those home lead test kits in the store. With the second recall of 2008 issued this week for excessive lead in children’s toys, I decided to do some research to see if these home kits were worthwhile.

“Useful . . . though limited” is what Consumer Reports said about three of the five testers.

The CPSC study of home lead tests resulted in the following caution : “Consumers should exercise caution when using these test kits to evaluate consumer products for potential lead exposures. False results can make it difficult or impossible for consumers to determine the proper course of action to take. In fact, CPSC staff has tested a number of other samples that had been identified by consumers and others based on their use of inexpensive test kits as having high lead levels. To date, none of these items has actually had high lead levels based on CPSC lab analysis. This is another indication of the poor reliability of the kits for this purpose. Testing by a qualified laboratory and trained personnel is the only way to accurately assess the potential risk posed by a consumer product that may contain lead.”

From a pediatricsblog: “Even if they were reliable, testing toys yourself isn't very practical. Most toys include many pieces or are at least painted with several different colors and you would likely have to test each to be complete. For example, with the Barbie Dream Puppy House that was recalled this year, lead paint was only found on the puppy that was included with the toy. With lead test kits typically costing about $1 a test, it will quickly get expensive to test even just your child's most played with toys. "

Doesn’t look like the home lead test kits are the answer to safety in our children’s toys.


Claire said...

I finished this post late Wednesday night, and on Thursday the CPSC issued two new recalls - one for lead. That now makes three lead paint toy recalls in 2008.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent post! I had wondered if those kits were worthwhile. I hadn't even thought of all the effort and expense that would be involved with testing everything!