Mattel and Fisher Price have recalled toys made in China because of possible lead in the paint. What is lead poisoning and should parents be concerned? Because lead poisoning is a result of continued exposure to lead and a gradual accumulation in the child’s body it is not always detected until there area serious consequences. Lead poisoning can mimic other problems until the lead levels reach a dangerous point. Some of the potential symptoms and health effects are: mental retardation, learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and reduced attention span. Children under six years of age are more apt to put their hands in their mouths and their bodies absorb lead more quickly than an adult. A child who gets enough iron and calcium in their diet will absorb less lead. Children should be tested when they are one year old or at six months if lead is suspected in the house. Parents can take precautions to help protect their children from lead exposure by: using a general all purpose cleaner with warm water to wash the children’s toys often, clean window sills, floors, or surfaces that contain dust. The children need to wash their hands after playing outside. Dirt in yards and playgrounds may contain lead when around lead painted buildings and busy streets (due to exhaust from leaded gasoline). Lead can be found in painted houses built before 1978. Therefore, any peeling paint must be carefully removed and precautions taken when remodeling. For more information call the National Safety Council’s Lead Information Center 1-800-424-5323. Information was taken from the Parents as Teachers, Birth to Three parent handout ST 37.