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High Levels of Chemicals Found In Children's Toys

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, December 05, 2008 12:31 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Dangerous Toys, Protecting Your Family, Toy Recall, Consumer Safety, Lead Standards, Phthalates, Toxic Substances, CPSC

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IMAGE SOURCE: © Ecology Center / HealthyToys.org

The Ecology Center released the 2nd annual consumer guide to toxic chemicals in toys at HealthyToys jointly with NYPIRG’s Toy Safety Report Released for the Holiday Season.

Researchers tested more than 1,500 popular children’s toys for arsenic, lead, mercury and other harmful chemicals.

The report found that one-third of the toys tested contained medium or high levels of chemicals.

Lead was found in 20 percent of the toys tested, which included 54 products that exceeded the 600 parts per million (ppm) state legal limit set last year and 164 above the recommended 40 ppm by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“There is no place for toxic chemicals in toys,” said Mike Shriberg, Ph.D., policy director of Ecology Center. “We are hopeful, that by empowering consumers, manufacturers and lawmakers will begin to phase out the most harmful chemicals and change the laws to protect children from these toxic chemicals.”

For the report, researchers focused on those chemicals that have been identified by regulatory agencies as problematic and that have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, cancer and hormone problems.

Babies and small children are the most vulnerable to toxic toys because their brains and bodies are still developing and they put toys in their mouth frequently.

HealthyToys 2008 findings include:

Lead was found in 20 percent of all tested toys.

Bromine was found in 2.9 percent, or 45 tested products indicating the likely use of brominated flame retardants – chemicals that may pose hazards to young children.

Arsenic was found in levels greater than 100 ppm in 22 tested toys; 289 products contained detectable arsenic levels. Mercury was found above 100 ppm in 14 percent of products.

Lead above 600 ppm was five-times more prevalent in children's jewelry than other tested products.

There is an upside, 62 percent (954 products) tested contain low chemical levels and 21 percent (324 products) contain no chemicals of concern. The findings show, manufacturers can and should make toys free of unnecessary toxic chemicals.

There are millions of toys available and as such the Ecology Center was not able to test all of them. However, consumers can visit the Web site and use the Test My Toy! feature to nominate products they would like tested. Visitors can vote on products to give them greater priority among the long list of products that need testing.

Also read, NYPIRG’s Toy Safety Report Released for the Holiday Season and our post Toxic Toys Still on Store Shelves. #


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