WalMart, PetSmart and other pet shops carry many toys for birds and other pets that are made in China. Unfortunately, many of them have proven toxic to birds.
Recently, a woman purchased a Chinese import bird toy for her pet. After chewing on it, the bird became ill and died. The woman then sent the toy to a university lab for testing and it was discovered to contain lead-based paint on its center rod. It was determined that the bird died of lead poisoning.
Distribution of the toys is widespread since major retailers carry them due to their lower costs. If you have toys made in China, please check how they are made. If in doubt, get rid of them.
Here are some tips of what to look for when purchasing a toy for your bird.
Do not purchase toys that have painted surfaces or pieces that are glued together. Even some non-toxic paints and glues can be harmful to your bird. Only dyes made of vegetable sources (soy based) are relatively safe.
Make sure that any toys with leather are only tanned in vegetable matter. The soaking process which turns animal skin into leather should not use chemicals for bird toys.
Metal pieces should be stainless steel or nickel-plated without any parts where a beak or nail can become stuck.
Purchase only wood toys that are untreated.
In spite of Chinese imports being responsible for many pet illnesses and deaths, they continue to be sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. Please check labels or call manufacturers of pet toys (and treats and food) to determine if they are Chinese imports or contain any product made in China.
Sadly, children have also been victims of Chinese imported toys and other products. Use only products made in the U.S.A.