General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Why do some industrial products, like toys, contain lead?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10280points) April 14th, 2010

So some of the toys that make it here from China, and other countries with lax materials standards have lead in them/on them. At what point in production does anyone decide it is a good idea to throw a known poisonous substance into the mix?

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8 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Maybe they just don’t like kids. Some people don’t – no real reason why they couldn’t be Chinese. Or maybe it is scaremongering – most kids toys had lead paint on them until a couple of decades ago – not many kids were sent running around like mad hatters. (Or were there?) Many kids toys were made from pure lead. We live in a world of overactive and unrealistic responses. Half of Africa and Australia was raised in houses made primarily from asbestos, now they treat it as though it was radioactive,

jaytkay's avatar

Aside from the horrible toxicity, it makes nice paint.

WikipediaLead paint or lead based paint (LBP) is paint containing lead, a heavy metal, that is used as pigment, with lead(II) chromate (PbCrO4, “chrome yellow”) and lead(II) carbonate(PbCO3, “white lead”) being the most common. Lead is also added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion.

drClaw's avatar

Kids these days aren’t getting the lead in their systems like they used to. So toy companies admirably added the lead to their paints and plastics making it easier for children to get their daily dose of lead.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because it’s not about the kids – it’s about using the cheapest product to make the most money.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Lead is the cheapest way to add pigmentation. All the Chinese manufacturers care about it the bottom line.The Chinese government has product standards, but they are easily subverted by corruption. If a scandal breaks out, a scapegoat is given a show trial and executed, not a very effective enforcement mechanism.

Ltryptophan's avatar

lead must be like super cheap…

jca's avatar

When there was the scandal a couple of Christmases ago, regarding lead having been found in many toys manufactured in China, which resulted in a huge recall of toys and other products for children, it was reported that whatever agency in the US that is responsible for testing these products only has like 6 enforcement officers or whatever their title is (that was Bush era, and it probably has not increased).

Remember in China they also were responsible for hundreds of pet deaths here in the US. A lot of pet food ingredients come from China, “premium” as well as regular brands (which leads you to wonder what you’re paying for when you pay for “premium?”)

thriftymaid's avatar

Because they came from China, it seems.

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