Re: If I were a betting man...
you're probably right, as they have less strict environmental (read: none at all) concerns over there.
I think we should export some of our wackier environmentalists to Beijing and let them protest the air quality, for starters.
In the mean time, a _LOT_ of the concern over these materials is more like PARANOIA instead of science. It is true that buildup of heavy metals is detrimental to your health. But there ARE safe levels of these elements, which occur in nature. I have been using leaded solder for electronics, and continue to do so. So I'm "exposed" directly to lead. And lead solder or just lead was often used in the making of jewelry, particularly the less expensive kind [normally I'd expect a silver solder to be used nowadays, which is also what I do, if I do anything with jewelry, which I have].
In any case, the source of the problem might be gross environmental contamination at those facilities (let's say in China) where EVERYONE is exposed to high levels of otherwise toxic materials, all of the time, and it ends up on what they make. That's my theory, and I bet it's true.
In the mean time, a bit of cleanup is in order. And I doubt any of those kids was in any REAL danger. It's not like they're eating lead paint chips because lead compounds taste "sweet" like a type of artificial sweetener. They're just "being exposed", which is far less likely to pose a problem.
And if "they" are THAT concerned about Hg, why is it still used on FILLINGS IN YOUR TEETH???