Regulation of the Day 72: Brass Toys, Killer of Children

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. These days, it often also contains up to 2% lead to make it more workable. That means it runs afoul of federal standards for lead in children’s toys.

Fortunately, it turns out that children handling toy cars or other toys with brass parts does not raise their lead concentrations to anywhere near harmful levels. No harm, no foul, right?

Doesn’t matter, say regulators. No exceptions.

Toymakers presumably choose brass because it is cheap, durable, and better than alternative materials. Now they will have to turn to those second-best materials despite no evidence of harm.

There is also one benefit being overlooked. Copper alloys such as brass have natural antibacterial properties, a definite plus when children are involved.

So the next time you see little Johnny crying because he’s sick and his toy car’s axle is broken, you’ll know who to blame.