We just received a timely pre-Halloween press release from the Sierra Club, warning about the dangers of toy jewelry. Not the choking hazard, or the dressing-like-Mr.-T-for-the-fourth-year-in-a-row hazard, but the leaching-toxic-metals hazard.

Toy jewelry, apparently, can have high amounts of lead. It also, according to the Sierra Club, has become a popular trick-or-treat item in recent years. (Thanks, but I’ll take the candy. Unless you have a locally grown, organic apple sans razor blade?)

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Lead is bad for you, particularly if you are a trick-or-treating-age tot — even more particularly if you are a trick-or-treating-age tot with a propensity for putting anything and everything into your mouth.

The press release gives five tips for avoiding lead jewelry:

  • Avoid glossy, fake painted pearls which may be painted with lead paint.
  • Know what stores, suppliers, and manufacturers have said no to lead. Go to the Center for Environmental Health website to get the latest list of companies that have agreed to reformulate their products.
  • Avoid purchasing toys from vending machines. In 2004, 150 million pieces of children’s jewelry were recalled from vending machines nationwide. To be safe, parents should avoid these products.
  • It’s easy to test suspect jewelry. LeadCheck swabs are available at most local hardware stores and can be used to test for lead in products you may purchase for your child. Swabs turn pink when lead is detected. You can also order test kits online.
  • Get your child tested. Lead poisoning can generally not be detected any other way. Regular testing will ensure the health of your child. Go here for more tips about what you can do to protect your children.