June 18, 2014
Nicole (Via MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic Facebook Page.)
I just found your page on FB and am a bit overwhelmed with all the information. It makes me want to clean my house and throw out everything! I have a couple questions: do you have a recommendation for a garden hose that is lead free? My son loves to play in his tiny pool (which we fill with water using the hose). Also, I’ve been trying to buy most of his toys that are made in USA. In your research have you been finding toys (manufactured in US) to be free from lead. Little Tikes is a big company and they make a lot of their stuff here, but now I’m wondering if it’s really safe? On a related note, have you tested Plan Toys? From what I’ve read they are a safer non USA company. Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for helping!!
If you have another answer for Nicole, please post in the comments below.
ANSWER FROM TAMARA:
It is a lot of information at once, information that took me 9 years (since my kiddo was poisoned) to learn and understand; I apologize for the info-overload!
Re: Lead-free Garden Hoses – on this post (link here) I have a few links to lead-free garden hoses I found online. Also if you look on the comments under the facebook posts, several others shared about lead-free garden hoses they have purchased over the years (there are some good recommendations there.) I personally don’t have one specific hose over another that I bought – we just bought one and it works fine. We purchased ours (a drinking water delivery hose that is white with a blue stripe down the side) at West Marine (the boat store.)
Re: “Made in USA” vs. imported: I have not consistently found that any Made in USA is safer than imported as far as toys are concerned. I have found toys with lead, cadmium or mercury in them from all over the world. I think your best bet in general is to either stay with:
- local handmade small-vendor toys (when they know the source of all of their materials) OR
- European toys (they have stricter safety standards and better manufacturing oversight than we do!), or
- at risk of sounding like a traitor to small businesses—and despite other valid concerns (i.e.the political arguments levied at these guys) large manufacturers and large chain retail stores (Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc.) … big box retailers (and large manufacturers) have way too much at stake these days if they mess up (sell toys with toxicity issues) plus they have the resources required for consistent “in-house” testing to assure toys meet CPSC standards.
Generally – more and more you can trust most new toys.
Toxic toys (in terms of the new ones) are the exception, not the rule. A big thing to consider (especially if you have a little girl) is that a lot of costume jewelry is attractive to young children and even clearly appears to be marketed to young children – but almost always has a “not intended for children label” on it – to get around the toxicity legislation! Please only buy children pure silver or gold and stone jewelry to avoid the leaded costume stuff (this costume jewelry also can be high in cadmium and mercury.) I always say that a small 925 silver necklace with a REAL amethyst or piece of turquoise is going to be a lot more exciting to that 5 year old than a piece of crappy costume jewelry that could be poisonous (and it’s often about the same price – from the right vendor!)
I have tested Plan Toys. I have never found a Plan Toy with toxicity issues.
I have tested Little Tikes (new Little Tikes) and have never found an issue there either.
Please also stay away from vintage and antique toys. I have tested vintage (1980s) Fisher Price plastic that has been high in lead. Current standards, knowledge and oversight/enforcement programs were simply not in place back then – and it is just too much of a risk for our kiddos. Sometimes we need to weigh the good values of “sustainability” and “recycling” against the senior concern of first ensuring a healthy home environment, free of toxicants—especially when we’re talking about bringing older used toys or other potentially toxic things from decades ago in the home of a child.