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Toys containing lead and other elements

Toys with lead

Toys are products that are designed or clearly intended for children to play with. They are a fundamental part of children’s physical, mental, social, educational and emotional development. It is vital that they are free of dangerous elements that could harm children.

Most toys are safe from dangerous levels of lead and other elements. Parents and carers should be aware, however, that some toys containing lead and certain other elements can seriously harm children.

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Harmful elements

Elements known to be most harmful, at certain levels, to children playing with toys are:

  • antimony
  • arsenic
  • barium
  • cadmium
  • chromium
  • lead
  • mercury
  • selenium.

Effects on children

Lead and other elements can cause harm if children suck on toys and consume harmful amounts of these elements. Young children often place toys in their mouth to explore them by sucking, mouthing and chewing on them, so they are especially vulnerable to dangerous elements in toys.

Children can absorb up to 60 per cent of the lead they’re exposed to. Toys are one of the most common sources of lead poisoning in children.

If children swallow or chew on a toy containing unsafe levels of  lead,  they can suffer significant and sometimes permanent damage to their physical and mental health. In some cases, they can die.

Children can suffer similar serious health problems when exposed to any of the seven other elements listed previously.

To minimise these risks there is a mandatory standard for children's toys containing unacceptable levels of lead and other elements.

See also Finger paints containing lead and other elements.

Mandatory Standards

Mandatory Standards

The mandatory standard for toys and finger paints containing lead and other elements came into effect on 1 January 2010.


Check for any recalls related to this page.

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