Toy maker Mattel has issued it’s second recall in two weeks involving toys containing lead based paint. Rita Gergely, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says parents should definitely take advantage of the recall and, if necessary, get their child to the doctor.
Since 1992, the state of Iowa has recommended that children under the age of six be tested for lead poisoning. The latest Mattel recall includes more than seven million play sets, and most are designed for children under the age of six.
"If the children would be putting (the toys) in their mouth or chewing on them," Gergely says, "that is what would be most likely to cause lead poisoning." This year, the Iowa Legislature passed a law requiring all children, before they enter school, to show proof of a blood-lead test.
Gergely says it’s her hope that children are tested well before they turn six, "because the damage is actually done at a younger age, and the exposure tends to be higher at a younger age." Most homes built before 1950 contain lead based paint and Gergely says Iowa is fifth in the nation in the percentage of homes built before 1950 (about 39 percent). Anyone with questions about lead poisoning can call a toll-free Iowa Department of Public Health hotline at 1-800-972-2026.