You can see this little guy in the second row of passengers in the first image below.
July 29, 2021 – Thursday
Introduction: Tamara Rubin is an independent advocate for consumer goods safety and she is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. She uses XRF testing (a scientific method used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for contaminants including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic.
90 PPM Lead (or higher) is unsafe for kids
The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe for items intended for use by children and made today is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint, glaze or coating, and anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. These Little Tikes / Rubbermaid toys from 1988 can be far more toxic than allowable modern limits for heavy metals — and I would not consider them safe for use by children today. Most important to know for context: this toy would be illegal if manufactured today.
“But I used them when I was a kid and I am ok!”
The sentiment expressed in the above quote (or some version of it) is a common refrain, and in response I wrote an entire post for you to share with parents or grandparents (or spouses or friends) whose lack of concern is based on that notion. Here’s a link to that post here. The fundamental guiding principle that we can all use in a situation like this is “Know Better, Do Better” – why would you knowingly give your child a toxic toy to play with? [Especially a younger child who might put that toy in their mouth!]
“Will my child get poisoned by using this particular toy?”
Strangely, this is a complete unknown — there is no manufacturer that has a financial interest in underwriting research to quantify the potential risk of their historic / vintage / legacy products (even though these are products that were often “made to last a lifetime”, and are being handed down through the generations). There have been several independent studies that demonstrate a basis for real potential concern for toxicants found in vintage plastic toys in general (without identifying specific toys and specific manufacturers of concern). Here’s a link with more information.
In my educated opinion – it is simply not worth the possible risk to allow any kid to play with this category of vintage plastic toys incorporating such potentially high levels of multiple neurotoxic metals. There are plenty of modern safer choices available for kids today – and they are normally quite inexpensive. Here’s an affiliate link* to a similar modern toy that is negative for Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic: https://amzn.to/2R54cmJ Here’s another one that might be a good option for younger children: https://amzn.to/3bcuSso
The specific toxicant profile for the doll pictured on this post
Below are the exact XRF test results for the doll pictured. Please read this post with more information about the testing methodologies used on this blog. Note: you cannot do this testing yourself at home (the appropriate XRF instruments are both incredibly expensive and require training and experience to use correctly), which is why I do the testing and report it (free of charge) here on my blog so parents have access to this information. If you are interested in having me test an item and report the results on the blog (both to satisfy your own curiosity, but also to help others who might have the same item or a similar item) – please read this post (link.) If you have some of the Lead-contaminated items shown on this blog, please read this post discussing what you can do with them.
Reading #1.) 60-second reading on brown hair
- Lead (Pb): 4 +/- 1 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 14 +/- 3 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 4,904 +/- 30 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 269 +/- 5 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 99 +/- 28 ppm
Reading #2.) 60-second reading on painted face
- Lead (Pb): 268 +/- 5 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 103 +/- 4 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): 27 +/- 3 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 300 +/- 22 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 136 +/- 63 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 195 +/- 10 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 441+/- 7 ppm
- Arsenic (As): 36 +/- 4 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 4,120 +/- 107 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 219 +/- 32 ppm
Reading #3.) 60-second reading on blue pants
- Chromium (Cr): 32 +/- 15 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 35 +/- 7 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 8 +/- 3 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 83 +/- 5 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 652 +/- 8 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 570 +/- 74 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 114 +/- 33 ppm
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts. As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them personally as soon, as I have a moment [which can take awhile these days, since there have been so many questions on my blog recently – paired with no childcare, as a result of the pandemic – so please be patient!].
Lori Jacobs says
Jeez, we have had these exact toys here for years, since my kids were little in the 80s and 90s. And so much more by Little Tykes! I actually retired and replaced the people shortly after I found your page, but kept the bus itself as it’s not mouthing-size. Did you test any of their vehicles?
Hi- I was wondering if you’ve tested the ’90s style little tykes; the ones that bend at the waist (like here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/563583340847753990/ )
I haven’t seen any listed here?
I have a rather complete set I was planning on giving to my kids when they get older; if you need one to test I can probably dig one out of my attic for you (in the spring, once it warms up)
Are the other people and the bus itself okay? How about the other cars and the green mountain track and yellow linking roads?