In recent weeks and months many toys have been recalled from the market due to the presence of lead in the paint applied to the toy. The recalls are primarily being carried out by the major toy manufacturers; however, there is reason to believe that the problem exists throughout the toy industry.
In response to the concern regarding high levels of lead in toys and children’s jewelry, Oxford Instruments is pleased to announce a special configuration of the X-MET3000TXR+ which provides a simple method of screening any toys or other products for lead content. The X MET3000TXR+ is a hand-held X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer. The principle behind XRF analysis is that when a sample is excited by X-ray energy, it reflects (or fluoresces) energy. By measuring intensity and quantity of this reflected energy, the chemical composition of the sample can be determined.
Since the equipment is portable, it can be taken to any location – a store, a warehouse, an incoming port – to test the toys. In a very fast measurement, the instrument can determine the presence or absence of lead in the toy. In addition, the test for lead can also identify other possible hazardous materials in the toy including: arsenic, cadmium, mercury, chrome, nickel and other hazardous metals.
Given the liability of the toy seller to ensure that the toy is safe, XRF screening is a wise investment. Recent recalls have cost companies money and reputation. In addition, the accuracy of XRF screening can significantly reduce the false-positive results for the presence of lead that other techniques may give.
Lead exposure is especially critical in young children under three years of age. Exposure to excess lead at this age can lead to brain damage and retarded development. In 1998, the US Government instituted regulations which limit the amount of lead in toys and other consumer products which are expected to be used by infants to 0.06% (or 600 ppm). If the item contains a higher amount of lead, it is considered hazardous material and must be carefully regulated or withdrawn from the market.