Melissa and Doug has sparked some controversy around here because a few mamas have children whose lead levels (previously high) dropped after their M&D toys were removed. There was a European recall
of one M&D toy (a shape-sorting clock) in 2006, due to lead levels. Supposedly, this was limited to a very small number of those toys, which were only distributed in Europe. DD actually had that toy. Even though it was not part of the recalled lot, we removed it, just in case.
We do, however, have many, many M&D toys. DD had her lead levels checked quite recently and came out fine, so we are not concerned overall with Melissa and Doug. We may not be buying any more of their toys, because we are avoiding toys made in China (though not ALL products made there), but we are not getting rid of the M&D toys that we already have unless they are shown to be unsafe.
There is a toy-testing website backed by The Ecology Center
that does independent testing of toys and children's products. They have tested a few Melissa and Doug toys so far and have found them to be safe. You can look up the results on healthytoys.org
, as well as those for hundreds of other toys. They show the complete chemical results for each toy/product, which is very helpful.
If the doll house furniture has lead paint on it, there isn't much you can do to rehab it. I am pretty sure the lead would leach through any new paint you'd apply. Sanding the leaded paint off would be more dangerous than leaving it alone, since lead dust is very detrimental. I would venture to say the M&D furniture is probably safe, but if you just can't shake uneasy feelings about it, I'd toss it and replace it with furniture from Plan Toys
or something. Their toys are made in Thailand, from renewable rubber wood and are painted with non-toxic (usually vegetable) dyes.