In the past, high lead content in some toys had led to large scale legal issues due to lead poisoning resulting from exposure to the toys. These mostly involved toys made of metal parts, and toys that used lead-based paint. A common example of this is die-cast cars which had been painted using paint that contained lead.
Lead poisoning can be serious and may result in symptoms such as brain damage, nervous system damage, damage to kidneys and other internal organs, and high blood pressure. Lead poisoning may also result in learning disabilities in young children who were exposed to lead at an early age. For these reasons, government authorities have enforced strict laws regarding the lead content in toys for young children.
What Are the Laws on Lead in Toy Products?
Federal laws state that all children’s products (whether toys, furniture, etc.), must not contain greater than 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead content in parts accessible to the child. This applies to all children’s toys and products produced after August14, 2011.
For paint in children’s toys, the lead concentration must not exceed .009 parts per million. An exception to this may be with bikes, which cannot contain more than 300 ppm lead for accessible parts. Also, any children’s jewelry containing more than 300 parts per million cannot be resold.
Manufacturers, producers, and retailers can be held liable if they knowingly produce, sell, or distribute products that exceed these limitations. They can also be liable for selling defective products.
How Can Lead Poisoning be Prevented?
While these new federal laws do much to curb lead poisoning cases, there are still ways that children can be exposed to lead in toys. One of these is where the parents travel to other countries and purchase toys in foreign countries, and then bring them back unexamined. These may contain lead, as they might not be subject to stringent checks in the country of production.
Also, older, "vintage" toys from thrift stores or pawn shops can contain lead. Again, it is against the law for retailers to knowingly resell lead-containing products, but mishaps can occur. Also, be wary of "hand-me-down" toys passed down through generations.
Injuries resulting from lead poisoning can often result in a class action toxic tort lawsuit. Individual cases can also be filed, resulting in a damages award for the victim’s losses.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Lead in toys can cause some serious injuries for children. You may wish to hire a defective product lawyer if you need representation regarding a personal injury claim. You attorney can inform you of the laws in your area, and can also help determine what your legal course of action is. If you need legal advice on how to pursue a claim, your attorney can guide you through the process and help you obtain a damages award for losses.