Leaded gaming minitures

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I remember when I was younger and I used to play with metal military miniatures. One day in about 1997 I remember being quite annoyed because they had decided to start making lead-free models and this meant that the price had gone up. What struck me as annoying at the time, but quite surprising in retrospect, was that even in 1997(ish) this wasn't because of changes in regulation but because foreign markets had started banning these toys from sale and destroying the market. Which is quite odd, considering that the UK prides itself on banning leaded petrol before everyone else.