Minneapolis offers free lead testing for kids' toys

The city wants you to know what's in your kid's toys.
The city wants you to know what's in your kid's toys.

That little phrase on the side of your kid's toys, the one that says "Made in China"? Well, most concerned parents already know that sometimes that phrase is the  English translation of "Bathed in lead paint - Toxic, little kid fall down go boom."

But now people can find out for sure. The city of Minneapolis is offering to test kids' toys for lead paint, free of charge, over two planned dates in the next month.

The city's offer is not exactly preemptive, but rather, a perhaps overdue effort to quell a disturbing trend: Last year, 79 children in Minneapolis tested positive for lead poisoning. It's unclear which kids were exposed to lead through the paint in their homes, and which came across it through toys made on the cheap, but the city's at least trying to head off the unnecessary tragedy of a child being made ill during playtime.

The first round of testing went off yesterday, with three more dates planned for the coming weeks. The dates, as announced by the city, are as follows:

5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27
Longfellow Neighborhood Resource Fair- Information Booth
Minnehaha Academy North Campus *
3100 West River Parkway

1 to 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28
Minneapolis Development Review
Room 300, Public Service Center
250 S. Fourth St.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19
Do It Green! Minnesota's annual Green Gifts Fair
Midtown Global Market**
Intersection of Lake Street and Chicago Avenue

The city also encourages parents to get their kids tested for lead levels, even if the the children seem healthy.

In the press release explaining the lead testing, the city explains that the type of items that are particularly risky include "vinyl toys such as dinosaurs, farm and zoo animals, vinyl lunch boxes, and backpacks."

The city also offers free testing of any home built before 1978 which currently has a child under the age of six who lives or visits frequently.

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