Lead leads to recalll of toys

Maryann Kopp

Several recalls on toys with dangerous levels of lead have been issued recently, and the Kern County Department of Public Health has some tips and precautions to bear in mind when holiday shopping this year.
Portia Choi, deputy public healthofficer and director of Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health, provided a simple suggestion to help keep children safe.
“One simple step caretakers can teach children is to always wash their hands before eating and going to bed,” said Dr. Choi. “This will help minimize the risk a child will introduce lead into their bodies.
“Because a child may not have obvious symptoms from lead exposure, caretakers who suspect a child under the age of 6 years old has been exposed to lead should have the child’s blood lead level tested,” said Choi.
According to the article “Lead Poisoning and Kids” by Daniel J. DeNoon on www.webmd.com, symptoms of lead poisoning are generally not sudden or acute, and the most harm is done to a child under the age of 2 and can lead to harmful long-term effects, like memory problems and loss of IQ points.
Mothers attending Bakersfield College are mostly aware of the recalls and what they entail, and some take different approaches to their holiday shopping as a result.
“I am not buying anything new that was made in China by any company other than Mattel,” began mother and BC student Janet Litrell. “I was planning on buying Aqua Dots until that issue happened. I am buying more clothes and music to avoid trouble with toy recalls.”
Litrell also stated that she has also taken to searching for “more unique American-made toys” to help avoid any potential problems.
Other mothers at BC, like Randi Luster-Delgado, aren’t as concerned.
“The recalls haven’t affected me and my holiday shopping too much,” said Luster-Delgado. “My five-year-old son, Evan, had a Toys R Us catalog that he was using to circle everything he wanted for Christmas. After seeing the Aqua Dots recall on the news, he asked me to scratch them out of the catalog so no one would accidentally poison him.”
Luster-Delgado also said that she and her son watched the warnings on the news and looked further into it online together. As far as how safe she feels about buying toys for Christmas, while laughing, she said, “I guess I am just counting on the government to protect us.”
The Kern County Department of Public Health cautions against the following products, which are all subject to the current recall notice: Curious George dolls (themes include the birthday, fireman, sweet dreams, tool time, and tool time with the soft face dolls), “Big Red” Wagons, Dragster and Fully Car Toy, Pull-Back Action Toy Cars, Duck Family Collectible Wind-Up Toy, Winnie-the-Pooh Spinning Top, Dizzy Ducks Music Box and “Robot 2000” Collectable Tin Robot.
The agency also warns against “contaminated lead dust from chipping and peeling paint in homes built before 1978; lead-glazed pottery or dishes; Mexican seasonings used in imported candy; ingesting home remedies like Azarcon and Greta; imported products like Bala Goli, Kandu, Kohl, Pay-loo-ah and other Ayurvedic medicines; use of imported products like litargirio; hobby materials such as stained glass and fishing weights; and certain toys and jewelry from other countries.”
Anyone concerned that a child may be suffering from lead poisoning is encouraged to see their physician or call the Kern County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (661) 868-0360.