Here’s what happens when you make a long verbal rant to someone about how the risk of lead exposure from water and air probably exceeds the risk from toys with lead paint, and then don’t blog about it because that means doing an hour or two of research and you don’t find the time… Someone else has the same notion, and actually writes about it AND gets published in a mainstream website!
While tainted toys are in the news now, kids historically have gotten lead from two sources: the atmosphere and house paint. Roughly a quarter-million tons of lead compounds entered the atmosphere annually beginning in 1922, after a General Motors scientist developed a lead-based gasoline additive that prevented auto knocking. Lead’s chemical durability, recognized centuries ago, also made it an attractive paint additive. Toddlers are particularly susceptible to eating lead paint because it has a sugary taste; ancient Romans used lead powder to sweeten wine. By 1980, more than half a million American children—4 percent of all toddlers—had quite toxic blood lead levels from these sources.
Lead is a serious problem in the US, and the bulk of exposure is from crumbling infrastructure, the inability (or unwillingness) to fix and replace decaying lead pipes, and the still ubiquitous presence of lead paint layers in older houses.
The article doesn’t still give you exposure comparisons or numbers, so I guess I still have to do the work.