Second-hand toxins

British scientists have used X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to investigate the toxic contaminants in individual second-hand plastic toys. Their data reveal worrying levels of bromine, cadmium, lead, and other chronically toxic elements in the products many of which are old and damaged and certainly pre-date modern safety regulations and yet are still being sold in charity and thrift stores. The team worries that toxic elements might leach from broken toys chewed or inadvertently swallowed by children given the toys by well meaning family or friends.