Bright baubles

Bright baubles – the toys

of our childhood. What dangers

lurk behind your joys?


Toys have to be versatile – they need to be interesting, fun, tough and safe. Plenty of toys are collector’s items, sold in second-hand stores or passed onto the next generation. Yet some plastic toys may have a hidden danger.

Turner (2018) analysed used plastic toys using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Hazardous elements, including lead, barium, bromine, cadmium and selenium, were found to be present in many of the toys. Among the worst offenders were Lego bricks from the 1970s which had high levels of cadmium (particularly the colours red and yellow), reflecting manufacturing processes at the time of production. Happily toy production is a lot safer nowadays.

Original research:


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