Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger, Chair

Second Committee Member

Linda Stetzenbach

Third Committee Member

Chad Cross

Graduate Faculty Representative

Ronald E. Smith

Number of Pages



The harmful effect of childhood exposure to environmental lead continues to be a major health concern. This study examined lead contamination within the plastic of children's toys. It was also hypothesized that the use of lead as a stabilizer would result in higher incidents of elevated lead (> 600 ppm) in polyvinyl chloride plastics (PVC) than non-PVC plastics. It was also hypothesized that, due to the use lead chromate, yellow toys would have higher incidents of elevated lead (> 600 ppm) than toys of other colors. Toy samples were limited to those found in day care centers in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ten day care centers were visited and approximately 50 toy samples were taken from each center. Of the 535 toys tested, 29 contained lead in excess of 600 parts per million (ppm). Of those 29, 20 were PVC and 17 were yellow. Both of the two hypotheses were strongly supported by the data. In addition to examining lead contamination, the presence of other heavy metals was observed. It was found that when lead was elevated, there was a high probability (P = 0.72) of the presence of elevated concentrations (> 100 ppm) of the other heavy metals cadmium, arsenic and chromium. To better understand childhood exposure risks from lead and other heavy metals additional research is needed.


Day care centers; Environmental health; Lead - Toxicology; Polyvinyl chloride; Public health; Toxicology


Environmental Public Health | Medical Toxicology | Public Health

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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