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Parents Beware—Many Toys Still Toxic, Hazardous
11/26/2013



Parents Beware—Many Toys Still Toxic, Hazardous
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital teams up with U.S. PIRG to Offer Tips and
Interactive Tools to Help Consumers Shop Safely
 

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report. Palmetto Health Children's Hospital partnered with U.S. PIRG to release its report which reveals that despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.

The report reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, and phthalates, all of which can have serious adverse health impacts on the development of 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 if swallowed.

“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,” said Jeff Holloway, M.D., Palmetto Health Children's Hospital and University of South Carolina Sports Medicine pediatrician.

For 28 years, the U.S.PIRG 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 a quiz to help educate parents and others about toy-related hazards.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. We found several toys with high lead levels including a toddler toy with 29 times the legal limit of lead (2900 ppm), and play jewelry for children with 2 times the legal limit (200 ppm). We also found an infant play mat with high levels of the toxic metal antimony, and a child’s pencil case with high levels of phthalates and cadmium.
  • 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 noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • We discovered small powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

Over the past five years, stronger rules have helped get some of the most dangerous toys and children’s products off the market. Improvements made in 2008’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act tightened lead limits and phased out dangerous phthalates. However, not all toys comply with the law, and holes in the toy safety net remain.

“No child should ever be injured, get sick, or die from playing with a dangerous toy,” said Holloway.

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About Palmetto Health Children's Hospital
About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital was South Carolina’s first pediatric hospital and celebrates its 30th birthday this year. Each year, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital treats more than 80,000 sick and injured children. As a major pediatric referral center, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital maintains more than 30 medical subspecialties devoted strictly to children. For more information, visit PalmettoHealth.org/ChildrensHospital.

About U.S. PIRG
U.S. PIRG takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being.