Humanity has known for over 2,000 years that lead is poisonous. There are numerous references to its harmful effects in early Roman writings, and many more throughout the centuries since then. People have continued to use it however, as it has some very useful properties — it resists corrosion, it has a low melting point, and it is easy to work with.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Lead can cause kidney disease, heart problems, reproductive problems and permanent nerve damage. When severe enough, lead poisoning causes coma and death. Specific symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Poor appetite and loss of weight
- Gastrointestinal problems
There is no known positive function for lead in the human body. Once it is in the body it is very hard to get rid of. It mostly leaves in the urine, but very little at a time and if exposure continues it builds up in body tissues, 95 percent in the bones.
Recent Product Recalls
The federal government has set standards for lead content in paint, and products which violate them are recalled. Some recalls in February, 2009 were:
- Children’s toys made in China — mini pull-back cars and battery-operated bubble guns.
- Golfer’s Billiard Games, sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy. These are also made in China and the paint on the golf balls had high levels of lead.
New Enforcement Policy
On February 6, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new policy for lead content. As of February 10, 2009, it has decreed that any toy for children under age 12 must have less than 600 parts per million of lead in any component that a child can access.
There are some exceptions and the CPSC has issued alternative lead limits for some electronic devices, as a way of avoiding unnecessary withdrawal of children’s products from stores. Manufacturing and marketing companies are expected to tell the CPSC if they learn of any product that exceeds these new limits.
Defective products are continually being recalled from the market, or at least adding warnings to their labeling. Excess lead is just one way that a child’s toy can be harmful. Other ways are by having small removable parts a child can swallow and by allowing a child to fall or become trapped.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, please call or email our defective product attorneys today. We will be happy to give you a free case evaluation.