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). All test results reported on this website are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Items are tested multiple times to confirm the test results for each component tested. Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
Section #1) Some specific toys tested
Below are Fisher Price toys that members of the Lead Safe Mama, LLC team have tested and reported test results for here on the Lead Safe Mama website. Click any of the images below to read the full article related to that specific toy. Each image is a link to the article for that item.
Section #2) For those new to the site!
It is with the help, support, and participation of LeadSafeMama.com readers that Tamara & her team conduct and report on independent testing of consumer goods for toxicants (Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Antimony), using high-accuracy X-Ray Fluorescence analysis (read more about that here). You can follow this work “@LeadSafeMama” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There are also more than 3,500 separate articles and pages of information (mostly consumer goods test results) on this website (you can use the search bar at the top of every page to check out the different categories of information and search for specific products/their test results).
Continue reading below the image.
Published: November 25, 2020
Updated: October 4, 2022
Section #3) Some Background
Members of the Lead Safe Mama team have been doing consumer goods testing using an XRF instrument since 2009 – and vintage Fisher-Price toys were among the very first toys we tested and found to be toxic (likely unsafe for children) because of the levels of Mercury, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead found in many of these vintage items. Since the testing we did back in 2009, there have been multiple studies discussing (and confirming) the potential concerns with these mass-manufactured vintage plastic toys. Here’s one study link – from 2015. Here’s another, February 2018. Now, based on comments Fisher-Price has made publicly on Instagram, Fisher-Price is finally on board in communicating with customers and fans about this concern!
Continue reading below the images.
An article (with test results) from this website.
Click the image to read the full article about the doll pictured.
A post from the Fisher-Price Toy Museum on Instagram:
Section #4) A virtual “Fisher-Price Toy Museum” on Instagram
In October 2020, we found out about the Fisher-Price Toy Museum account on Instagram. It first came across our news feed on Yahoo News, and then a handful of Lead Safe Mama readers suggested that we check it out. When we looked at the link and content and images on the account our immediate reaction was that the account should be renamed the “Fisher-Price Toxic Toy Museum!”
… a “Toxic Toy Museum” (exhibit) …
Lead Safe Mama, LLC actually has quite a large collection of toxic vintage Fisher-Price pieces in our storage unit (full of toxic consumer goods) in Oregon, awaiting inclusion in our “Lead Museum” exhibit — a long-planned project, which will be a traveling museum exhibit (to art and science museums around the country) with the intention of educating parents and children about the presence of Lead in vintage mass-manufactured consumer goods. One of our first articles ever about XRF readings for a consumer good was this one about the Fisher-Price Garage.
After discovering this virtual Fisher-Price Toy Museum, we spent some time reviewing their Instagram page to check out each of their posts and read all of the comments. We were curious what toys they might have on the page that we didn’t yet have in the Lead Safe Mama collection yet (as we want to make sure to test all of the most popular ones that families might still have in use in their homes). We found PLENTY of Leaded examples up on their site — and (at that moment) decided that sometime soon we might make a “complementary“ account with a post with toxicant readings for each of the items they have in their virtual museum (for the items for which we have already done testing)!
Continue reading below the image
The image below is from an earlier article on this website.
Click the image to read the full article about the dolls pictured.
Section #5) Reactions to the virtual “Fisher-Price Toy Museum”
Reading the comments on Instagram, I became a bit alarmed! In the Instagram comments, parents were talking about their fondness for these toys. I anticipated this would be the case since this is the reaction I often get to articles on this website — but to see it in this way was somehow unexpected. Parents and grandparents alike were commenting about how they had saved their vintage toys for their children and grandchildren. Again, still not too familiar with Instagram at the time, I private messaged some of the parents suggesting they not use them, as these toys are unsafe. I also posted comments about this in response to their comments. I was concerned (and half-expected) that Fisher-Price might react as some other companies I have called out have reacted and deleted my comments, trying to silence the truth — but I was pleasantly surprised! Below is one of the initial exchanges:
Here’s an exchange we found (and participated in) on the Fisher-Price Toy Museum Instagram (see image above)
- Qunitananation said:
- “I still have this and the Sesame Street house! My toddler is playing with it now!”
- I responded:
- “These have unsafe levels of Lead and would be considered illegal today. Please don’t let your child play with these vintage Fisher Price toys.”
- Fisher Price responded:
- “We’re so glad these were so loved! Sadly, we do not recommend playing with vintage toys, as safety standards have changed, but these will make terrific additions to your decor!”
There are several more similar exchanges below in additional screenshots from Instagram (each of the images looks the same, but the comments on each image are different).
Continue reading below the images
Another post from The Fisher Price Toy Museum on Instagram:
A report from this website.
Click the image to read the full article about the doll pictured.
Section #6) A responsible company, for a change!
Unlike Corelle or Tupperware (each of which — at the time of publishing this article — had yet to publicly respond to the Lead Safe Mama, LLC findings of high levels of toxic heavy metals in their vintage products, although Corelle did at least “privately” message with customers about similar recommendations for their vintage pieces), Fisher-Price has chosen the high road in making these statements public and visible on their Instagram account! They have also responded to MANY of the comments with a similar message (see several examples below), suggesting these vintage toys should not be played with by children; that they are not up to today’s safety standards, and specifically suggesting these vintage toys should only be used as decor. It’s so great to have this work validated (and in a way, acknowledged) by such an important company in a very public way.
But they could do better, couldn’t they?
While, on one hand, it would be nice if Fisher-Price would issue an easily findable full public statement (on their main website or main social media pages) specifically acknowledging that these items have toxic heavy metals (so parents and grandparents better understand the concern with letting children play with them) — the fact that the company has publicly commented at all is a fabulous (first pass) public corporate reaction to the concern! I do, however, disagree with their sentiment that these pieces would be appropriate to use as decor (in a home — or, more specifically, in a child’s room). I think if they are used as decor in spaces where children might be, there is too much of a risk. As “decor,” these vintage toys will be too tempting for children who will likely go out of their way to try to get to them (behind glass or up high on a shelf — however they might be presented or displayed).
Section #7) Safer Choices
Proactively (turning the concern into an opportunity), Fisher-Price also has done an amazing job in re-releasing some of their more popular classic vintage toys in modern, toxicant-free versions that families can buy new today for their young children to safely play with!
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing articles from LeadSafeMama.com. Sharing these articles (with your friends and family, on social media, IRL, and elsewhere!) helps to support the work of this woman-owned small business (based in Portland, Oregon) — and specifically supports the independent testing of consumer goods and reporting of results made freely available to all who read the articles here.
Please let us know if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them as soon as we have a moment.
Owner — Lead Safe Mama, LLC
Mother of Lead poisoned children
*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.
More screenshots of comments and responses (including more from Fisher-Price) on this Instagram post are below. Each has the same image but the comment thread on the right is different.
One example of a grandma commenting that she is saving these toys for her great-grandkids:
Image below, a comment from Fisher-Price:
Response example #1) to carolinacamy: “Safety standards have changed, but the cherished memories you have with this toy have not! So while we can’t recommend playing with this toy, we can recommend loving it all the same.”
Response example #3) to melodymontgomery:
Image below, comment from Fisher-Price:
Response example #4) to flashback620: “Safety standards have changed over the years so we can’t recommend that you play with this toy, but you can still put it on a pedestal for all to admire.”
Image below, comment from Fisher-Price:
“Safety standards have changed so we can’t recommend that you play with this toy, but you can still put it on a pedestal for all to admire like you’ve always wanted to.”