Since people seem a little concerned over the recent recalls due to lead paint, China has now decided to ban lead paint used in toys. Really? Gee thanks. Now we can run right out an buy up all the cheap plastic toys for Christmas this year. Because I am paranoid and I had to put my mind at ease, I had my youngest tested for lead levels. I discussed this with our pediatrician and we decided since he spends time in an older home (Grandma & Grandpa's) and has something constantly in his mouth (a red Thomas train), it would make sense to test him. I am relieved to report that he has no lead in his system. The nurse who took his blood said that they are testing a lot of kids and she said some kids do test positive for some lead, but at levels considered safe. I think zero would be a good level for all children.
We are going to scale back this Christmas and try to make good choices for our toy purchases, which we should be doing anyway. But as kids get older they want certain things and this is how I envision our discussion:
"Son, what would you like for Christmas this year?"
"I would like the Spider-man play center, made in sweat shop in China, coated with lead paint, that screams inappropriate comments at unsafe decibel levels."
"Well, I was thinking more along the lines of these nice hand sanded, dye free, sustainably harvested wood blocks, made by a local toy manufacturer that hires clean living employees for decent wages. Or maybe you should just play with this sock...oops, sorry that was made in a sweat shop too. Maybe we can put a rush on the background check for your imaginary friend."
We spent a good 15 minutes looking for toothbrushes the other day; reading each one to find one not made in China. They really wanted the Power Ranger's toothbrushes, but they were all made in China. I have to keep this to myself because my son went with his father to the store to buy a bike pump and they asked the store clerk where they would find one and my son added, "not made in China." I am not against the Chinese people or necessarily their products, but at this point if I have a choice, I will choose the other country. I believe this is all about balance and things are out of balance right now. We cannot rely on one country to supply all our goods because we want them cheap or companies want bigger profits. It will be good to buy some handmade items or from small toy companies from now on. Perhaps I can learn how to melt and mold plastic Spider-man action figures.