Written by Lindsay Crowder
|Thursday, 04 December 2008|
Although many consumer groups propounded in recent years that toys are safer than ever before, millions of toys were recalled in 2007. These toys were found to contain toxins such as lead, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, or hormone-disrupting phthalates. Toxins pose a risk to human health and the environment. However, until recently no governmental agency tested toys before they made it to store shelves. Fortunately, on August 14, 2008, the bi-partisan Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was signed, making consumer products safer by requiring that toys and infant products be tested before they are sold, and by banning toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates from being used during toy production.
The idea of buying a toxic toy for a child can be threatening. The organization HealthyToys.org (www.HealthyToys.org) tested over 1,200 children’s products and found lead in 35% of the products, cadmium in 2.9%, arsenic in 2.2%, and mercury in 0.7% of the products tested. Also according to the consumer group U.S. PIRG, “while the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a major step forward, many of its protections don’t take effect until 2009, so it’s still ‘buyer beware’ for this shopping season.” Before shopping, check out the list of recalled items at http://cpsc.gov/ and http://www.recalls.gov/. The U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), has also released a report that details dangerous toys called, “Trouble in Toyland: The 23rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety” along with an online searchable database of toxic toys at http://www.uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety. On December 3, 2008, http://www.healthytoys.org/ will release their 2008 Toy Ratings for over 100 products.
After doing some at-home research, below are some resources to help you avoid buying toxic toys this holiday season:
• Avoid buying toys made with #3 PVC plastics. PVC plastic contains additives that can leach toxic chemicals. To search whether a product contains PVC by name, brand, or type of toy, check out http://www.healthytoys.org/.At this point, there is not a comprehensive all-inclusive list of toys to avoid. You can begin to narrow down your search by using the resources given above. Or you can keep your eyes open for the following manufacturers and companies that are committed to safe, PVC-free toys:
• Manufacturers: Brio, Chicco, Early Start, First Years, IKEA, Lamaze Infant Development, Lego, Little Tykes, Playmobil, Primetime Playthings, Ravensburger, Sassy and Tiny Love.Don’t let toxic toys get you down this holiday season. If you are still unsure of a specific toy while you are shopping, www.momsrising.org has developed a text message program to answer your questions while you shop. Just text 41411 with the message body: “healthytoys [search term]” with the search term being either the name of toy, type of toy, manufacturer, or retailer, and you will get an instant response with the toxicity of the product. For specific instructions, go to http://www.momsrising.org/NoToxicToys. And remember, when in doubt, it is always safest to buy eco-friendly products!
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|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 October 2011 )|