We live in an old brick tutor built-in 1929. We have the “desirable” leaded glass windows. They are beautiful but have high levels of lead. I would have never bought this house if we knew and already had a child.
I never even thought about the windows being toxic when we bought our house. I just thought they were really pretty. I stress about our windows on an almost daily basis and have had my son’s lead level’s checked 3 times in his 2 1/2 year life. Each time the reading has been below 1.
After we tested, we found out that some areas of our windows are 50% lead and creating lead dust on the window sill he likes to sit. Lead is scary stuff and not to be messed around with.
We also have lead paint on the outside of our house (lucky for us we only have trim that’s painted since we are in a brick house). Pretty much every old house has lead paint on the outside. Ours is pealing, I’m too afraid to address it so I’ve put a thick primer over our outside deck to try and seal it in. No scraping or trying to make things look pretty which is not recommended when young children live in a house with lead paint. We will fix the paint when we move (which will be soon).
We tested a lot of things but I’ll just post things that will apply to most people. I’m guessing it’s not that exciting to see what the readings on my walls, outside, and windows were to anyone other than my family 🙂
90 ppm lead is considered safe for children by our government. Keep this number in mind when you are going through these things.
Everything listed below was tested with a Niton XRF analyzer.
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- My Grimm’s toys tested clean, no lead or other heavy metals.
- All my Plan Toys tested clean EXCEPT 1 blue excavator which had 22 ppm lead in the blue paint.
- My Ostheimer figures tested clean with no heavy metals.
- I did a small random sampling of wooden Etsy toys that were finished with beeswax and organic oil but with no paint, all were clean with no heavy metals.
- Wooden doll stroller from Nova Naturals. I had this tested because linseed oil can contain heavy metals. I drilled the company before buying this and even talked to the manufacturer of the linseed oil. I was told no heavy metals… and they were right. There was no lead of any other heavy metals in the doll stroller.
- That’s what my toys consist of so I didn’t test anything else except 2 beach sets. Glueckskaefer wooden and painted metal beach set and gardening tools came up clean. Spielstabil (owned by Haba) plastic beach set tested clean. Green Toys came up clean too.
Bikes, trikes, and ride on toys:
- Kettler trike (made in Germany): Everything on the trike came up with no heavy metals except the tires. They tested at 299 ppm lead.
- Used / old Radio Flyer wood scooter with red rubber-type handles probably from the early 90’s. The red handles had 358 ppm lead. Everything else on the ride on tested for no heavy metals.
- Used Radio Flyer wood ride in car from the late 90’s or early 2000’s. Everything tested negative for heavy metals.
- Kettler (made in Germany) scooter didn’t have any heavy metals. I bought this one used. Ketter no longer makes any of their scooters in Germany, they are all made in China now.
- Ride in pedal fire truck. This was handed down to us but I wasn’t 100% comfortable with it knowing it was made in China. No heavy metals were found.
- Wooden balance bike (Pedobike) made in Germany. No heavy metals.
- Baby Bjorn Baby Sitter chair – clear of any heavy metals
- Chicco car seat – no lead or other heavy metals
- Soft Star shoes came up with no lead or other heavy metals – yay!
- Bobux, claiming to be non-toxic and use no lead – uppers tested clean and the soles on both pairs we have tested between 130 & 155 ppm lead. I tested the Bobux Step Up shoes and it was the rubber soles that tested for lead not the leather. At first we thought maybe my son had walked through lead dust (which could be possible) but then we tested the soles of his Soft Star shoes and there was no lead. It’s Bobux not dust.
- We bought used Western Chief rubber boots for my son. The mom I bought them from said she bought them 3 years ago (so they are 4 years old). I knew Western Chief was made in China but they use natural rubber vs synthetic so I thought they would be safe – wrong! Boots were 1,600 ppm lead and the soles were 3,481 ppm lead. Never buy used rain boots. As it turns out, they have had a lot of recalls in the past few years on rubber boots.
- My husband’s Nike Frees tested free of any heavy metals. That doesn’t mean they are non-toxic though. Nike’s clothes use toxic chemicals, and I’ve been questioning these shoes.
- My converse tested clean (owned by Nike).
- My Aigile rubber boots – the uppers were clean and the soles had a lead level of 92ppm. I bought Aigile boots because I thought, and they claim, to be made in Europe in addition to being non-toxic. After wearing them a few times I noticed a Made in China stamp. I was so mad, called the company and they said only a very few are made in China – right!
- I went out and bought some shoes to test. These companies claim to be non-toxic and lead free. They are all made in China which is the one thing I try and avoid. However there are very few companies that don’t make shoes in China (one of which being Soft Star). Umi and BOGS are owned by the same company who said that they randomly test their shoes once a month to make sure they are heavy metal free. They promised no lead. The other is Keen who says they are non-toxic as well. Obviously these were just testing for heavy metals not other toxic materials used to make shoes like formaldehyde or chromium in leather.
- BOGS tested positive for lead 209-222 ppm lead. So very disappointing!
- Umi tested clean (canvas shoe).
- Keens both pairs tested clean (a canvas and leather shoe).
Both the BOB and the Mountain Buggy tested clear for lead or other heavy metals.
I love antiques, I love the history, I love not going out and buying new furniture and I love the look. It turns out most antiques have lead (and I’m talking about non-painted, wood furniture) but of course not all. We have a non-painted wood secretary that tested for 324 ppm lead. I was so surprised. Whatever used to be used to do a clear finish on wood contained some lead. Putting another finish on antiques would seal that in and make it safe. Separately we tested the non-painted wood trim in our house (which was built in 1929) and it had low levels of lead – around 51 ppm.
Things with cords:
Cords can, and do, contain lead because of PVC used. I had a few things that used cords tested.
- My first thought was our Dyson vacuum. I mean the cord gets dragged all around the house. The Dyson cord tested for no heavy metals. I was really happy!
- Our air purifiers have cords that my son sometimes touches. Both our Austin Air and our IQ Air tested for no heavy metals in the cords or the unit itself.
- We have two bedside lamps we bought at Pottery Barn. The base had lead levels of 915 ppm and the shade had no heavy metals.
- We have a bride and groom rubber duck (random, I know). The groom had no heavy metals and the bride have levels between 1,053 and 1,101 of lead on her.
- My husband has an old post hole digger from his dad in our garage. It has 10,000 ppm of lead in the red paint (that is chipping off).
- Kate Spade leather / fake leather (not sure what it is actually made of) purse had 67 ppm lead.
- Crockpot had a lead level of 56ppm.
- We bought a salsa bowl when we were in Mexico and it had a lead level of 11,300 ppm. Lesson learned don’t buy pottery from Mexico. Tomatoes are so acidic that for sure lead was leaching out of them!
- We bought several pieces of pottery when we were in Costa Rica and no heavy metals were found – yay!
- Le Creuset
- We have a very large blue soup pot that tested for no heavy metals on the inside and 63ppm of cadmium on the outside.
- Red cast iron roasting dish with 12,800 cadmium on the outside.
- Blue roasting dish – no lead, trace amounts of cadmium on outside.
- Blue pot (smaller than the first one above) with no heavy metals.
- Red loaf pan – 100 ppm lead on inside, 29,000 ppm cadmium on the red outside, 153 ppm lead on the bottom. Really disappointing. The lead on the inside and cadmium on the outside is a double negative for this loaf pan.
- My lesson is that red generally contains cadmium which is a toxic heavy metal. Opt for other colors. Everything blue tested for no or very low cadmium.
- Emilie Henry red ceramic loaf pan – 417 ppm lead on inside, 495 ppm cadmium on the red outside, 342 ppm barium. I was disappointed that there is lead inside this loaf pan.
- OXO brand ice cream scoop, metal, about 5-7 years old. The flat scoop part had 944 ppm of lead – yikes!
- Lenox China – no lead (yay!) but some small amounts of barium.
- Denby dishware, pattern called white trace – no heavy metals.
- Stainless lemon squeezer – no heavy metals.
- Crate & Barrel white asparagus plate – 18,200 ppm of lead.
- Ice cream maker – 76 ppm lead.
- Ridel wine glasses – 300,000 ppm of lead!!! That’s 30% lead and no these are not leaded crystal. These were $20 per glass. You better drink your wine like a shot out of these glasses to avoid the acidic wine sitting in a leaded glass for too long 🙂
- Vintage blue glass mason jar – the jar had no heavy metals but the vintage lid had 861 ppm lead and 1,537 ppm cadmium.
- Weck glass canning jars – 142ppm of lead. This made me really sad. We moved over to Weck after learning that Ball Mason jar lids had BPA in them. At that time they didn’t have the non-BPA lids available. For whatever it’s worth, the talk is that the BPA alternatives aren’t good either but it’s the better of the these two options.
- Anchor Hocking glassware (glasses, bowls, plates) no heavy metals.
That’s my list! I learned a lot and some were very surprising to me. I am going to be making some changes in my future purchases.
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