The reason potential lead poisoning is a common reason for product recalls is that even at very low levels of exposure, it can cause, among other problems, reduced IQ, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and stunted growth. At high levels of exposure, it can cause mental retardation and even death. (See the National Safety Council’s Lead Poisoning factsheet for more info.)
Even though Alex doesn’t have any of the recalled wooden Thomas trains, I became concerned since he plays with a huge number of metals toys made in China (mostly Bob the Builder Take Along vehicles). (See The Consumerist’s Chinese Poison Train series for more on the connection between product recalls and China.) So I took Alex in to have his lead levels tested, and I’m happy to say that the results were normal (as his pediatrician assured me they would be). I’m glad to have the peace of mind, but I learned yet again that I worry a lot more than I need to (and it was no picnic doing the blood draw, let me tell you!).