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Category Press Release
Publish Date 5/5/2015
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Parents Cautioned to be Aware of Hazardous Metals in Vintage Toys
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides lead and other heavy metal testing services for both new and vintage toys that may contain hazardous materials.

Cinnaminson, NJ, May 5th, 2015

Earlier this year, the Journal of Environmental Health published a study about hazardous metals found in some vintage toys.  The authors of the study, Gillian Zaharias Miller, PhD, of the Ecology Center and Zoe E. Harris of St. Ambrose University stated that one of the main reasons behind the research was due to the fact that the presence of heavy metals in toys was unregulated until recently.

The researchers analyzed over 100 toys from the 1970s and 1980s made of polyvinyl chloride and non-vinyl plastics using an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer.  The device quantified the hazardous metal content of each toy tested.  Lead and cadmium were reportedly found in about two thirds of the old toys and the levels often exceeded current limits on these metals.   In addition to lead and cadmium, mercury and barium were also detected in some vintage toys.

Not only can heavy metals be found in many vintage toys made of plastics, but toys with paint can also contain hazardous materials such as lead.  Lead-based paints were banned for use in products marketed to children, house paints and in dishes or cookware in the United States in 1978. Toys manufactured before this ban, or even current toys imported illegally from other countries, could pose a lead hazard to children who play with them.

“When old plastics are exposed to substances such as sunlight, air and detergents, the chemical bond between the lead or other heavy metals and the plastic can break down and form dusts that could expose children to these hazards,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “Today, all children's products manufactured after August 14, 2011, must not contain more than 100 parts per million of total lead content in accessible parts.  Parents and toy retailers concerned about vintage toys or even new imported toys can have these products tested by EMSL Analytical.  EMSL offers testing for lead, cadmium, barium, mercury and other potentially toxic materials.”

EMSL recently sponsored and educational video about potential lead hazards in children’s toys that can be seen at:

To learn more about lead or other heavy metal and environmental testing services, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, industrial hygiene, food and materials testing services and products to government agencies, industry professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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