It’s common sense: we know that heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium are highly toxic to children--we have a responsibility to make sure that children are not exposed to them in toys, jewelry, or from the pipes that deliver drinking water. Safer States partners have been a powerful force in holding manufacturers responsible, and passing common-sense laws to protect kids from exposure.
97 adopted policies in 31 states
- Current Policies
- Adopted Policies
What Are They?
Heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium occur naturally but are far from harmless. They are found in many products ranging from art supplies and automobile components to paints, hair dyes, jewelry, and even candy. Old paint containing lead degrades into dust, easy to ingest. Water systems throughout the United States, such as Flint, MI and parts of Oakland, CA are contaminated with lead and other metals due to outdated systems and poor manufacturing practices. These chemicals can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, and certain cancers.
We Eat Them
Metals can be present in food including imported candy, folk medicine, and spices. Arsenic can be found in some baby cereals made from rice grown in areas with groundwater high in arsenic.
We Drink Them
Heavy metals get into drinking water after being released by vehicles, coal plants, manufacturing processes, and leaching out of old house pipes.
What More is Needed
While we have made great strides against the use of some metals, legacy contamination plagues many communities. Policies that address lead in homes and drinking water, arsenic in food, and cadmium in consumer products will help decrease the burden of these harmful chemicals.