Survey finds dangerous toys on store shelves

November 28, 2012

Staff Report

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to the Illinois Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

Illinois PIRG, joined by Paula Culvey, manager of Pediatrics at Swedish American Hospital; Laura Nikolovska, program associate at Kids in Danger; and Danielle Ritter, executive director of Trinity Day Care, released the report.

The report reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, all of which have been proven to have serious adverse health impacts on the development of young children.

The survey also found small toys that pose a choking hazard, extremely loud toys that threaten children’s hearing, and toy magnets that can cause serious injury.

The Trouble in Toyland report also includes a list of dangerous toys that surveyors found on toy store shelves. The list includes a dangerous magnet toy, a bowling game that is a choking hazard and a cell phone rattle that is harmful to little ears.

Anu Dathan, program associate for Illinois PIRG, said: “We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys.”

For 27 years, the Illinois PIRG Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and provided examples of toys 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 smartphones at www.toysafety.mobi.

Key findings from the report include the following:

• Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. Toys were found that contained phthalates, as well as toys with lead content above the 100 parts per million limit.

• Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children younger than 3, toys were found available in stores that still pose choking hazards.

• Toys that are potentially harmful to children’s ears and exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders were also found.

• Small, powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed were also discovered.

Parents and toy givers need to remember that while the CPSC is doing a good job, no government agency tests all toys before they hit store shelves,” Dathan said. “Consumers should also remember that toys that are not on our list of examples could also pose hazards. The message of today is clear: parents have to stay vigilant. We cannot and must not accept any weakening of our consumer and public health safeguards because they protect young children, America’s littlest consumers.”

Download Toy Tips or the full Trouble in Toyland report at www.illinoispirg.org.

From the Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2012, issue

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