I-TEAM INVESTIGATES: Health department identifies poisonous toys

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Monday, Dec. 24, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Parents will go any length and stand any line to see the look joy on our children's faces Christmas morning. The last thing on our mind is if the toys we just got them could make them sick.

"Yep, I see it coming up pink."
"Yep, it's starting to because it's starting to turn on my swab."

Lashanda Lee is a lead detective at the health department. She hunts down the source of lead poisoning when a child tests positive for it.

Lashanda Lee, Richmond County Health Department

Lashanda Lee: "This is a toy that actually poisoned a child."
Liz Owens: "Oh wow."
Lashanda Lee: "So you have to be safe. You know toys look safe to you can actually be a danger."

All of these toys contain lead and each poisoned a child in Richmond County.

Lucy Marion is the Dean of Nursing at AU.

Liz Owens: "What happens when a child has it in their blood?"
Lucy Marion: "Well, it is an absolutely an emergency."

There is no safe level of lead in children but kids under the age of three are the most vulnerable.

"You have loss of hearing, intellectual disabilities that will last forever," Lucy says.

You cannot smell or taste lead, and it's not visible to the naked eye, but there is something that can you find it.

"Shake it and a yellow liquid comes out," Lucy says holding a small container.

"These are the lead check swabs and you can get these at any hardware store."

This is $9.99. I bought it at Lowes. You can use it at home to test your children's toys I am going to use it to test on some toys some I bought online some in stores.

And it is showing up red that means it's positive for red.

It's coming up yellow. I believe this toy is safe.

The lady with the health dept said a child was poisoned by lead by this brand of chalk so I am going to test the chalk. It's hard to tell that shows there are some limits to using these kits.

Vintage, made overseas, and toys with higher pigment colors like yellows and greens are more likely to contain lead.

"So you have to be safe you know toys look safe to you can actually be a danger."

We parents will do almost anything to make Christmas a magical time for their kids but the wrong toy could turn it into a medical emergency.

If you are worried about a toy the  US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a list of recalled toys.