#AskTamara: Are Legos® nontoxic? Lead-Safe? Lead-Free?


Question: Are Legos® nontoxic? Lead-Safe? Lead-Free?

Well for those who are here for a quick answer: Yes, new Legos® are safe!

I have personally never tested any new Legos® (new in the past 14 years) that were positive for any the main four toxicants I look for in my work (Lead, Mercury, Arsenic and Cadmium.) Now go away and buy yourself some Legos®! 🙂 (here’s a link and you can start your Legos® shopping with this* – or not! I think my kids got the tiny version of this at one point.)  To prove how much I like Legos®, the picture below is MY FOOT in just one of the giant Legos® piles in our home (the kids drag them around on sheets so they can be picked up in a hurry if necessary).

For those who would like to read my story to learn WHY I know this, please continue. 🙂

This is what I responded to my friend who asked me about this on Facebook earlier today:

Yes!!! We have more Legos® than any family should.

When I was growing up, we never had any plastic toys in my family home. The three boys who lived next door had a very traditional and typical American family (Their mom, Mrs. Caleb Marsh reminded me of June Cleaver and they were a very old family in Hingham — “came-over-on-the-Mayflower” kind of family) and since they had only boys – they always had Legos®, and I was so very jealous of them! Their mother used to let me go over to their house and play in their playroom by myself so I could play with all of the “boy” toys! HUGE baskets of Legos® and HUGE baskets of Hotwheels®- type cars. Those were basically the only toys there, and I would play over there by myself for HOURS sometimes as a very young girl (4-5-6 years old)!

So when I grew up, I KNEW that my children were going to have Legos® — ALL the Legos® [because I loved playing with Legos® so much as a kid and never had any!] …and also as many *toy cars* as they wanted).

So since our kids were poisoned (in 2005), and we had to throw out most of their toys and start over (almost 14 years ago), [and after the crazy backfired experience of deciding to buy them only TRAINS, read more about that here] we have bought them ONLY Legos®…. well, and ART SUPPLIES (and maybe a handful of board games). That’s pretty much it (with rare exceptions like a pogo stick, a yo-yo, rocks and shells from geology and aquatic stores and that kind of thing.)

As a result I have had the opportunity to test LOTS of Legos® for folks (maybe a thousand?, at this point, I would imagine). So yes, I LOVE Legos®; they are totally fine [the new ones, not the vintage ones — the vintage ones, like many other vintage plastic items, can have Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium), and as I said, I have tested countless new ones to confirm they are safe.

As a parent, I did not actually buy many of our Legos® myself, but the grandparents would ask what the kids wanted for gifts when they visited, and we always said “Legos®!” (it’s such a no-brainer, easy gift for the grandparents to get — and the kids to be super-excited about, no matter what set it is and no matter how old they are!) Before the grandparents died (and after the kids were poisoned), our boys got Legos® every year, from each grandparent, each time they visited (which was usually at least twice a year each – so that’s a lot of Legos® over nearly 11 years with four boys in the house!) We haven’t had a substantial Legos® infusion for more than three years, now… [My mom passed away three years ago in May and Len’s Dad passed away shortly after.]  When our whole legal battle is over, we’ll probably go on a “Legos® binge” to make up for the past three years – lol!

One possible exception to the full green light on Legos® (when it comes to Lead): At one point I remember I heard about a recall of a Star Wars Legos® set (because some decorative painted elements had lead in the paint) – maybe 10 years ago, but I have not been able to find nor confirm evidence of the issue anywhere online (if you find a link referencing this, please share it with me.)

The rule with Legos® (or any plastic toy): Avoid vintage (and avoid yard sales — where you don’t know that all of them are newer production), but buy up all the new Legos® with confidence.

What a great company across the board too! I love them [they are releasing them made out of plant-based plastics soon!] When we went to Denmark (three years ago, on our first family trip out of the country) we tried to visit the factory, but it was closed for tours because it was late November (and what kind of crazy tourists visit Denmark in November!) 🙁  – This was a huge disappointment for my kiddos!

Because I have always been so confident with new Legos® (since my boys were poisoned) I have never bothered to create a blog post about them because I considered them all to be safe. Today I was nudged by a friend that he could not find any posts about Legos® on my blog, so I wanted to just create this as a formal answer to those who are looking up this question here on my blog!

I will post some actual XRF test results of some of my Legos® as examples sometime soon.

Tamara Rubin

*Amazon links are affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking on one of my links I may receive a small percentage of what you spend at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my advocacy work in this way.

2 Responses to #AskTamara: Are Legos® nontoxic? Lead-Safe? Lead-Free?

  1. Meghan Fuller March 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm #

    Any idea around what year they stopped using lead & other toxins in Legos? I have friends of different ages with old collections from their childhoods but don’t know when the approximate cut off is for safe bs unsafe.

    • Tamara March 17, 2019 at 2:17 pm #

      Hi Meghan!

      I don’t yet have that information. As with other vintage plastics I assume that anything newer than early 1990s is likely safe, but since they are not marked or labeled it is hard for me to know based on my testing. Definitely the last 15 years have been toxicant free (in my experience – based on the legos I have for my boys.)


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