For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals — including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic). Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
M asked: “Are the 3M Lead Check swabs sufficient to test the surfaces of toys? Is it better than nothing?”
My answer to her question (on Facebook) …
Sarah — another thing I wanted to clarify for you is that the swab kits are very useful for testing for Lead in paint, but are not specifically designed to test for Lead in toys. Toys are considered toxic for children at levels as low as 90 parts per million and the detection limit set by the swabs is closer to 600 ppm. The swabs may also not show a positive reading when used on Lead-positive plastics, pottery and crystal (for example) — not because the swabs are faulty, but because they were specifically designed for testing for Lead in higher concentrations in surface coatings (like found in house paint) — something they do very well.
– Len & Tamara
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing this work!
Here’s one more piece you may find of interest: “Can I test my dishes with a LeadCheck swab? ”
Please let me know if you have any questions!