The US is far more active than Canada in detecting lead in
consumer products, and in requiring that they be withdrawn from the
market. The Centers for Disease Control post a fascinating
list of high lead consumer products, many of them marketed for
children, which can no longer be sold in the US. It is harder for
Canadian parents to avoid such products.
Lead is commonly used in consumer products because it is cheap,
durable, easy to manufacture, and brightly colored. As recently as
last month, the US and Canada jointly banned a "Love. Hugs.
Peace" lapel pin. In June, the US, but not Canada, banned a
wooden animal drum and 75,000 American Girl Crafts Pearly Beads & Ribbon
Bracelets kits. The list of banned products looks very
ordinary, just the sort of inexpensive consumer items that fill
Since November 25, 2010, Canada has had regulations banning the
sale of most baby toys and mouth contact products containing more
than 90 mg per kilo of lead: see the Consumer Products Containing Lead (Contact
with Mouth) Regulations under the Hazardous Products
Act. However, few imported consumer products are tested for
heavy metals. The US detects these products earlier, in part
because of widespread requirements for blood lead level testing and
reporting. High American blood lead levels, especially in
inner-city boys, are known to have significant neurological and
cognitive effects. Most lead contamination comes from historic
sources, such as leaded gasoline and lead-based paints, but
contamination of consumer products can be a significant new
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