Among the most strictly enforced consumer-protection laws are those banning lead in toys. Lead is an insidious poison: It's slow-acting and results not in immediately noticeable effects like rashes but in behavioral problems and a slightly lowered IQ. Even a very small amount of it is harmful. Yet a few decades ago, a lot of the most popular playthings were made from solid lead, including tin soldiers.
Considering all the lead toys produced in those days, tin soldiers sound pretty benign. "Tin" is a something of a misnomer, though. The soldiers were not made primarily of tin but of a lead-tin alloy containing 60 to 75 percent lead, with the rest being mostly tin and antimony. Sometimes they were cast from "hard lead," a group of alloys typically found in bullets, which contain nearly 95 percent lead with just a bit of antimony for hardness.
Children didn't just play with these little chunks of neurotoxin; they often cast them in their own kitchens, using kits that came with a melting pot, a ladle, some sticks of lead alloy and a selection of soldier molds. After casting, kids filed them smooth (spreading lead dust all around). Then they decorated their armies with a variety of paints, most of which were lead-based.
Safety standards, thankfully, have progressed significantly since then. At today's standard, 100 parts per million or less, just one of those old soldiers contains enough lead to render several million toys unfit for sale in the U.S. Although such safety requirements have no doubt helped reduce the number of leadpoisoning cases, they may not be stringent enough. Unlike with most toxic substances, there is no limit below which lead is known to be harmless. As more evidence of lead's deleterious effects on the brain accumulates, it would not be surprising to see the 100-ppm standard lowered further. If you really want to play with tin soldiers safely, you'll have to find some vintage silicone rubber molds and cast them from lead-free plumbing solder, as I did.
you can also go to a thrift store and buy pewter mugs and trays and cut them up and melt them down.
We need to get big government out of our lives! We should let the market decide what is safe for our children and what is not.... big government control of everyday products like light bulbs and toys just goes to show you that the government only makes rules to kill business and create perpetual class warfare.
Come on... would you rather be safe or have money?
Either you are trying to be funny or you've been sucking on a lead Popsicle and washing it down with a Mercury milkshake.
Wait a minute, aren't we missing the point here ?
There are millions of us still living, still smart and still healthy. We are living into our 90's, and we played with lead and mercury, not to mention the lead paint and asbestos in our homes. We are living proof that our societies fears and costly overreaction to them is wasteful and unnecessary.
Geeze, that's like saying atomic bombs are safe because not <I>everybody</i> in Hiroshima/Nagasaki died.
I'll take both safety and money please, and also the freedom to choose how much of each. And I want mustard with that order.
I hate big brother but lead is dangerous. Today we see the effects from widespread lead use. From gasoline to toys to paint to water pipes have left a generation now with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, nerve damage, liver damage, kidney damage, learning impairment, and and entire ecosystem damaged from trees to lakes and oceans.
Saying lead is good is like asking for an asbestos play suit for your child and by the way how about some cigarets and beer for your pregnant wife?
There may be some safer solder type of metal than those but all of the heated metals need to be kept away from children, women at all times. Men and non-childbearing women may be able to use heated metals under strict controls.
You can save yourself by installing a copper and alumina activated (metal blocks that attract HM to them) filtration system to remove the heavy metals like lead and mercury and even fluoride, to remove the bugs put a UV lamp on it.
DO NOT use steam/osmoses systems as they often strip water of all its natural properties, some minerals your body depends on from water, a proper filtration system will leave those in at trade levels such as Mg, Ca, Na...
Bottom line is never rely on your government/local district council to take action before the damage is done, once chemicals and heavy metals get into the system it may take time for regulation to catch up to remove it, plus you gotta consider all those eroding water pipes etc by the bygone age......
you are still not getting it. Anyone who grew up in the 40's & 50's will tell you how much cleaner the air & water is today, than when they were children. And yes,90% of them are still around. The only quality improvements since the 80's require measurement in the parts per billion. Our current efforts are a zero-sum game, chasing infinity. The cost of further improvement climbs exponentially. Where does it end ? If we further extend our life expectancies, it won't be because our air and water is infinitesimally more pure. We would be extinct if we had not evolved to tolerate trace amounts of heavy metals.
I grew up in the 30s and 40s. My neighbor, had one of these lead casting kits and we used to melt the lead in his kitchen and cast soldiers. We would spend hours with our armies and stage battles. After World War Two got going it was hard to get any lead
In the 50s I worked for a plumber and all the drain lines in houses were made from cast iron and we had to pour the joints from lead.
In the 60s I worked for a pipe company that used asbestos in one of their pipe coatings.
I am in my 80s now and just recently had a chest xray and it was clean. You just had to be alert when working around fumes of any kind and you will survive.