Children’s toys and baby items are a unique source of exposure to heavy metals in young children. It is a global health concern because of the potential risk heavy metals pose during the early years of childhood development. This study assessed the levels of six heavy metals (lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu)) in eleven toys and seven baby items currently sold in Trinidad and Tobago. Samples were analysed using Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (FAAS). The concentrations of Pb, Mn, Ni, Cr, Cd and Cu ranged from 2.63 to 34.45 mg/kg, 0.03 to 4.22 mg/kg, 2.28 to 16.95 mg/kg, 0.95 to 14.10 mg/kg, 0.002 to 4.14 mg/kg and 0.03 to 2.15 mg/kg, respectively. Two samples exceed the regulatory limit for lead and one exceeded the regulatory limit for cadmium set by the EU. The ingestion risk (ADD) for lead, nickel and chromium in toys and baby items ranged between 3 × 10-5 and 1.0 × 10-4, 3.1 × 10-5 and 2.3 × 10-4 and 1.0 × 10-5 and 2.0 × 10-4 respectively. The HQ values for lead, nickel and chromium in toys and baby items ranged between 0.0070-0.1150, 0.0015-0.0113, and 0.0036-0.0627, respectively, while the hazard index (HI) ranged between 0.0156 and 0.1447. The results suggest that these toys and baby items generally posed a low risk to children.
Key words: Children toys, Trinidad and Tobago, health risk.
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