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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 22 – Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group’s 26th annual Trouble in Toyland report.
This morning PennPIRG, joined by Congressman Fattah, Representative Josephs and Representative O’Brien, released the report. It reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for lead and phthalates, both of which have been proven to have serious adverse health impacts on the development of young children. The survey also found toys that pose either choking or noise hazards.
“The message of today is clear. We cannot, must not, weaken the most basic safety rules that protect young children, America’s littlest consumers,” said Alana Miller, PennPIRG’s Program Associate.
For 26 years, the PennPIRG Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards. The group also provides an interactive website with tips for safe toy shopping that consumers can access on their smart phones at www.toysafety.mobi.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said of the report, “As we approach another toy-buying season, I commend PennPIRG for its timely work to ensure once again that toys are safe, and to protect children from the choking and poison hazards that can threaten their lives and security. I will continue to lead the fight in Congress to protect and expand the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in its vital, child-saving mission – a task made easier with allies like PennPIRG.”
Key findings from the report include:
• Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. Two toys contain levels of phthalates – a chemical that poses development hazards for small children -- at 40 and 70 times allowable limits. Several toys violate current allowable lead limits (300ppm). Lead has negative health effects on almost every organ and system in the human body.
• Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, we found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards.
• We also found toys that are potentially harmful to children’s ears and exceed the hearing standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
“While most toys are safe, our researchers still found toys on the shelves that pose choking hazards and other toys that contain hazardous levels of toxic chemicals including lead,” Miller explained.
"This is PennPIRG's 26th year of providing valuable service by researching and educating parents about dangerous products. But ideally there shouldn't be a need for a report because safeguards should be in place to protect our children,” said Representative Babette Josephs. “When parents go shopping, they should be able to trust the products in the toy store. It is the role of elected officials to keep dangerous products off of store shelves, so they never end up in a child’s hand. Now is certainly not a time to get rid of safeguards."
In 2008, Congress placed strict limits on concentrations of lead and phthalates in toys and children articles in a law that also gave greater authority and funding to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Miller noted that the CPSC has a new database of both potential hazards and recalled products at saferproducts.gov.
“Parents and toy givers need to remember that while the CPSC is doing a good job, it doesn’t test all toys on the shelves. Consumers should also remember that toys that are not on our list of examples could also pose hazards,” Miller concluded. “Our new Toy Tips explains the most common toy hazards and our mobile app.”
To download a pdf version of Toy Tips or Trouble in Toyland, go to www.pennpirg.org/report.
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PennPIRG, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group, takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being.
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