In support of the toy industry, many laboratories are being called upon to analyze a wide variety of sample matrices for metal content. The primary element of interest is lead, but a number of other toxic elements pose a considerable threat, especially for children. This subset of elements, known as heavy metals, includes antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, selenium, mercury and lead as they are all known to accumulate in the body and cause detrimental effects over time.
Some plastic and wooden toys, particularly those with painted surfaces have demonstrated elevated levels of Pb and other elements. Regulations exist which provide limits in materials for which surface contact with children can result in possible ingestion. Analysis of toys and other items of interest for heavy metal content is necessary to validate their manufacture, distribution and sale.