Problem of toxic lead in used consumer products extremely widespread

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 02, 2010 12:10 hrs

In a new paper, researchers have revealed that the problem of toxic lead in used consumer products is extremely widespread and present at levels that are far beyond safe limits.

They found that many other items available for purchase throughout the United States - such as toys, home decor items, salvage, kitchen utensils and jewelry - contain surface lead concentrations more than 700 times higher than the federal limit.

Laurel Sharmer of the State University of New York, Anna Harding of Oregon State University, Steven Shackley of the University of California, Berkeley made the team research.

Researchers purchased a collection of used items from second-hand stores, junk shops and antiques stores in Virginia, New York and Oregon.

The items included salvaged construction pieces, antique toys, common dishware, jewelry and other collectibles. Many of the items would have significant appeal to children. Before purchase the items were tested in the store using a qualitative swab test. Those that tested positive were purchased.

Using X-ray fluorescence at the Geoarcheological Laboratory at UC Berkeley, the items were quantitatively tested for lead content.

Nineteen of the 28 items violated the federal standard for lead, which is 600 parts per million. The amount of lead ranged from twice the federal limit in a metal ice cream scoop to 714 times the limit in a saltshaker lid.

The results are published in the December issue of The Journal of Environmental Health. (ANI)

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