Bendable - and toxic County Library recalls lead-laden toys

By BOB WOOD

News staff writer

August 12, 2006

The Hood River County Library, in compliance with the Oregon Department of Human Services, is issuing a recall of potentially hazardous bendable toys given to children as reading incentives.

The four-inch pliable cats and dogs contain between four and six times the federal allowance of lead, according to tests conducted by the Indiana Department of Health.

"These toys are a potential health hazard and children should not be handling them," said Richard Leiker, environmental toxicology manager in the DHS Public Health Division.

"A particular concern is that because of the toys' small size and shape, children may put them in their mouths and suck or chew on them," he said.

Parents can return the hazardous toys to the Hood River County Library and children can pick a replacement toy, according to Jayne Guidlinger, children's librarian.

If parents have seen a child chewing or sucking on one of the toys, Leiker advises they contact their health care provider and schedule a blood test to determine lead content. Leiker also advises that parents either discard or return the toys if they are discovered in the house.

Exposure to lead can interfere with normal brain development, which may lead to a reduced IQ or behavioral problems. Even small amounts of lead can be harmful, according to the DHS.

For more information about lead and suggestions on protecting family members from lead poisoning, please call the Oregon LeadLine at (800) 368-5060 or visit www.healthoregon.org/lead.

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