How to avoid lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals in children's products

    Consumer Reports News: September 09, 2010 05:08 AM

    Don't allow children to have or play with cheap metal jewelry. If your children tend to put things in their mouths, add to that brass keys, barrettes, and charms. (See what we found when we tested products for lead and cadmium.)

    Take an inventory of your children's toys and check them against the recall list at, which has photos and descriptions of products recalled for lead or cadmium. Also check the list if you're buying used items.

    Consider do-it-yourself test kits, which can be useful though limited screening tools. Our September 2008 tests found that Homax Lead Check and Abotex Lead Inspector kits were somewhat reliable in detecting surface lead but were not good at detecting lead within a product.

    Don't drink from garden hoses, which might contain lead that can leach into water. As a precaution, wash your hands immediately after handling power cords, extension cords, and even strings of holiday lights.

    Learn more in our full report on lead and cadmium in children's and adults' products.

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