Toyland

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to CALPIRG Education Fund’s 30th-annual Trouble in Toyland report. 

The survey of potentially hazardous toys found 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 chromium and phthalates, both of which can have serious, adverse health impacts on a child’s development. The survey also found examples of toys that pose a choking hazard, extremely loud toys that can threaten children’s hearing and powerful toy magnets that can cause serious injury if swallowed.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe,” said Corinne Santoro, Campaign Organizer with CALPIRG. “However, until that’s the case, toy buyers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys.”

For 30 years, the CALPIRG 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. Over the years, the reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other enforcement actions.

Key findings from this year’s report include toys with high levels of toxic substances that are still on store shelves. Chemical testing was done at a lab that is accredited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The report found the Fun Bubbles jump rope from Dollar Tree had 10 times the legal limit of the banned phthalate DEHP (tested at 10,000 ppm) and 190,000 ppm of the toxic phthalate DIBP, which has not yet been banned. 

Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, the report found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards. A fairy wand from Dollar Tree has small parts that easily break off, but was not labeled as a choking hazard.

Inadequate warning labels were also found in the Disney Pixar Cars Riplash Racers and Disney Planes from Marshalls; G2 Air Mini Football and a Disney Finding Nemo Dory figurine from Five Below; and a Nickelodeon Mermaid Dora the Explorer from Target. These products may have labels suitable for foreign countries, but they were not sufficient to meet U.S. standards.

Small balls pose a hazard for young children who are inclined to put objects in or near their mouths. It was found that Magic Towels packaged as a small baseball and a small football at Dollar Tree did not have the appropriate small ball warning label.

Balloons pose the most serious choking hazard to children in the U.S. All of the balloon packages found did include the required warning label reading that children under eight can choke on balloons and balloon parts. However, it was also found that three balloon sets from Party City included a second, confusing label, indicating that the products are for children ages three and older. Those sets were the balloon animal kit, mega value pack 16 latex punch balloons, and mega value pack 12 water bomb packs.

Toys that are potentially harmful to children’s hearing were also found. The Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels, Vtech Go! Go! Smart Animals, Vtech Spin & Learn Color Flashlight, Fisher Price Click n Learn Remote and Leap Frog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set from Target that don’t violate federal standards, but were found to be extremely loud at the ear and at a distance.

Small, powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed continue to be found. The Sizzlers noise magnets from Family Dollar, and Singing magnets from Dollar Tree, are “near-small-parts,” which, while they don’t violate federal standards, are small enough to be swallowed and can cause severe internal damage.

To download the full report, go to; http://www.calpirgedfund.org/reports/caf/trouble-toyland. For more information, visit www.toysafetytips.org.

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