Lead ingestion and absorption the exposure of children to many possible sources of lead takes on special importance because of the degree of oral activity among young children. Most infant begin mouthing objects in the middle of their first year and continue until early in the second year of life, when this activity usually subsides. Persistence of mouthing as a major activity beyond 18 months is considered abnormal. The 75 pica, a perverted appetite for nonfood items, occurs commonly preschool children, and is most prevalent among those 18 to 24 months old (Lin-fu et al., 1973).
Lead is a heavy metal, which undisputedly has health effects at relatively low exposure levels decades. It is therefore surprising that its use, especially in countries like India has received such little attention, both by the government as well as the consumers. It is widely accepted that no level of lead or cadmium in blood should be considered safe for children and hence every effort should be made to ensure that their environment remains free from any such toxic metals (Kelley et al., 1993).
Toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PCV) are potentially toxic to children as PVC contains both lead and cadmium. Lead or cadmium compound act as stabilizers but they readily leach out. Moreover, they can also be used in pigments to impart bright colors to toys in order to attract children. Chewing and swallowing behavior of children is a common source of lead and cadmium exposure (Joseph et al, 2006).
Biologically, a child (plural: children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. Child may also be described as a relationship with a parent (such as sons and daughters of any age).there are many social issues that affect children, such as childhood education, bullying, child poverty, dysfunctional families, child labor, and hunger. Children can be raised by parents, by fosterers, guardians or partially raised in a day care center. Every child goes through many stages of social development. An infant or very young child will play alone happily. If another child wanders onto the scene, he or she may be physically attacked or pushed out of the way. Next, the child can play with another child, gradually learning to share and take turns. Eventually, the group grows larger, to three or four children. By the time a child enters kindergarten; he or she can usually join in and enjoy group experiences (The free Dictionary 2016).
Toys are an integral part of a child’s developmental process. Children play with toys and learn about the world. A toy may be defined as something used in play by children, adult or pets: A toy may mean different age groups and hence exposure pathways also differ accordingly. A child below 3years of age may handle a toy in a completely different manner from 3-6 years of age. Toys can broadly be categorized as mechanical, electrical and soft toys. Toys may also inflict accidental injuries to children, sharp edges of toys or other electrical, mechanical or flammable characteristics may cause accident. Chemical exposure to children, especially from toys, is an emerging concern. The chewing, licking and swallowing behavior of children is a common source of lead exposure. Children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. The digestive system of children absorbs up to 50% of the lead ingest. In fact, physicians and scientists agree that no level of lead in the blood is safe or normal. It is important to understand that what constituted ‘safe’ yesterday is no longer ‘safe’ today, and what is ‘safe’ today may not be ‘safe’ tomorrow (Kelley et al 1993).
Children may be exposed to lead –a well known health hazard, toys that have been made in other countries and imported into our country or antique toys collectibles passed down through generations put children at risk for such exposure. To reduce these risk, the consumer product safety commission (CPSC) issues recalls of toys that could potentially expose children to lead. Lead may be used in two aspects of manufacturing. Paint: lead may be found in the paint on toys, it was banned in house paint, on products marketed to children, and in dishes or cookware in United States in 1978; however, it is still widely used in other countries and therefore can be found on imported toys. It may also be found on older toys made in united state before ban. Plastic: the use of lead in plastics has not been banned. It softens the plastic and makes it more flexible so that it can go back to its original shape, it may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize molecules from heat. When the plastic is exposed to substances such as sunlight, air, and detergents the chemical bond between the lead and plastics breaks down and forms a dust (LeadlnToys).
Lead is invisible to naked eye and has no smell. Children may be exposed to lead from consumer products through normal hand-to-mouth activity. As part of normal development, young children often place their toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouth, which puts them in contact with the lead paint or dust. The only accurate way to test a toy for lead is by a certified laboratory. Do it yourself kits are available. However these kits do not indicate how much lead is present and their reliability at detecting low levels of lead has not been determined (NCHH).
Children expose lead can have: stunned growth, mental problems like low and/or learning problems, severe lead poisoning, which can cause seizures, coma, and even death. Lead can be in: paint on toys, plastic parts of toys, lead-based paint that is still in older homes, dust from toys that have lead In them or lead-based paint on them ,lead dust cannot be seen and has no smell. It can be hard to tell if your child has lead poisoning, symptoms are not always present, some common symptoms are: headache, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, irritability, tiredness, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and loss of appetite (N.C 2008).
Lead poisoning is seen occasionally in infants and children from the prolonged used of lead nipple shields or from the ingestion of water containing lead; also lead is reported to have been obtained from face powder containing lead used by the child’s mother, however, the most common cause of the ingestion (C.F Mckhann 1932).Lead poisoning was first recognized as a pediatric disease in Australia over 100 years ago. A series of 10 cases in Queensland was reported in 1892; 12years later, after extensive investigation, the source was found to be peeling, lead –based, residential paint on verandas of the children’s homes (Gibson, 1904).
Children are now understood to be at particularly high risk of lead toxicity. From conception onward, children have a greater risk of exposure and greater susceptibility to the toxic effects of lead than do adults. There exist windows of vulnerability to lead in early life-during embryonic, fetal and early postnatal life-that have no counterparts in adult life (American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health, 2003).Assessment of House hold waste products in Romi kaduna south LGA