Watching out for high lead levels

January 18, 2012 2:10:49 PM PST
She is armed with a powerful blog and a handheld x-ray fluorescence analyzer or XRF gun.

An environmental lawyer and former engineer, one woman's new mission is to find toys, cups, bags-anything that could be harmful to your health and let the public know about it.

Lead exposure has been linked to heart disease and cancer in adults, and behavior and intellect problems in children.

"You can get exposed but you don't realize the kind of chronic, low-level exposure is effecting a child's development. And you don't even realize it until they get to kindergarten it's irreversible," says Jennifer.

The gun tracks lead, cadmium and mercury.

"When you're doing toys, you can find lead in the plastic and also sometimes in the wheels are vinyl. Right now it's testing almost 7,000 parts per million?.so it's well above the standard for children's toys," adds Jennifer.

Although lead is banned in children's toys, toy makers are now switching to cadmium.

A report in found high cadmium levels in 48 percent of toys tested, and 78 percent were made with PVC or polyvinyl chloride, which is often contaminated with lead.