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Lead and Children's Items

Background

In November 2010, Health Canada introduced the Consumer Products Containing Lead (Contact with Mouth) Regulations made under the federal Hazardous Products Act. These new regulations are part of Health Canada’s Lead Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer Products and through this legislation, the lead level of items used for play, learning or come in contact with the mouth will be significantly reduced. This will primarily affect items used by children under 3 years of age; but will also look at other consumer products that are likely to come into contact with the mouth (e.g. soothers or sports mouthpieces).

In addition, the amount of lead in consumer paints and other surface coating materials such as those applied to children’s toys and furniture has also been reduced with amendments to the Surface Coating Materials Regulations.

What you can do to protect your children:

  • Avoid purchasing toys from vending machines.
  • Avoid toys that have small parts, small in size and are metal or metallic – these may contain lead and can be easily ingested.
  • If you suspect a toy, children's jewellery item, or other product may contain lead, immediately remove it from the reach of your child.
  • If the product is low cost, it can be thrown away with regular household waste.
  • If the product is not a low-cost item, contact the manufacturer or retailer regarding your lead content concerns.
  • If a product has paint peeling off any of its surfaces, remove the product from your child’s reach as they may ingest the paint.
  • If you believe your child has swallowed an object containing lead, seek immediate medical attention.
  • If your child has sucked or chewed regularly on a product which you think may contain lead, ask your doctor to test your child's blood for lead.

What about home testing kits?

Health Canada's Product Safety Laboratory has evaluated a number of home lead test kits available in the Canadian marketplace. The results obtained from these kits can vary considerably from one brand to another and are also affected by the type of product or material being tested. It is for this reason Health Canada does not recommend the use of home lead test kits. It is best to check Health Canada's website regularly for up-to-date product recall information to determine if the item you are concerned about may contain lead. Additionally, company websites are a great resource for information on products they have recalled.

Need more information?

If you have concerns about certain items, contact the National Capital Region Consumer Product Safety Bureau by phone at 1-866-662-0666 or by email at CPS-SPC@hc-sc.gc.ca. Report a product on their website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/advisories-avis/incident/index-eng.php.

Additional resources:

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