KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This holiday season the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department is warning families about an unseen danger found in many children's toys and holiday decorations-- lead.
Lead might be found in the paint, metal and plastic parts of some toys and toy jewelry, particularly those made in other countries, as well as antique toys and collectibles.
"It is only dangerous if we somehow ingest it," said Carol Pollard, a Healthy Homes specialist with the Kansas City Health Department. "Children who have the hand-to-mouth behaviors have the highest risk because everything goes in their mouths."
Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health.
"It can result in a loss of IQ, learning disabilities, impulse control issues," Pollard said.
Most children who are exposed to lead have no symptoms. A blood lead test is the only way to tell if a child has been exposed to lead, which the Kansas City Health Department will do for free. The health department also will test any toys or items, such as painted china, that are of concern, for free.
"Anything that's chipped, glazed or cracked probably should be disposed of," Pollard said. "Without testing (items) individually you cannot be sure if it has lead or not."
To make an appointment with the health department for testing, call (816) 513-6048 or visit its website.