So here's the good news...a new law passed recently that will limit the amount of lead that can be found in any toy or children's product.  There was already a limit on the amount of lead that could be found in the paint of children's toys and products, but the current regulations did not take in to account lead that is found elsewhere on the product.  According to the new law, all products on store shelves must comply with a strict new lead limit of 600 parts per million, a limit that applies to total lead content and not just lead paint.  This means that our children's toys and products will soon be safer than ever.

The bad news?  That new law won't go in to effect until February 10, 2009.  That means that from now until February, manufacturers will be able to sell off their existing inventory, even if it doesn't meet the new safety requirement.  According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, toys that have been made in other countries and then imported into the U.S., and antique toys that have been passed down over the years (before lead limits were in place) put children at the greatest risk for lead exposure.

So how can you tell if the toys on your holiday gift list are laced with dangerous levels of lead?  Check out the research done by Healthy Toys, a consumer group that specializes in testing toys for toxicity.  To date, the group has tested over 1,500 toys and children's products for lead and the results can be found on their website...you can even search by toy brand or type.  Need the info on the go?  Text healthytoys [toy name] to 41411 to get any toy's safety ratings sent directly to your cell phone.

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