The other list Santa should check

By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service-NC

RALEIGH — Before filling the stockings of little loved ones this holiday season, gift givers might want to check out a new annual report that lists potential toy dangers to watch out for. Pam Clough, campaign organizer with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), says they’ve released their “Trouble in Toyland” report for 29 years now, and as a result, more than 150 toys have either been recalled or taken out of retail stores.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Public Interest Research Group This shopping play set is among two dozen toys named as potential hazards for children in the latest annual Trouble in Toyland report.

Image courtesy of U.S. Public Interest Research Group
This shopping play set is among two dozen toys named as potential hazards for children in the latest annual Trouble in Toyland report.

“It is great to see that progress is being made,” Clough says. “But it’s evident there are still dangerous toys on the shelves.”

Clough says the findings highlight the need for consumers to be proactive and do their research before buying, and also examine items that already have been purchased for possible dangers.

Among the 24 toys on the list this year, Clough says they uncovered four main hazards including toxins, choking risks, magnets and excessively noisy toys.

“We found toys that contained phthalates that are well over the legal limits,” says Clough. “For example, a Dora backpack was 20 percent phthalates, which is ridiculous.”

Clough says the toxic chemicals found in toys can have adverse health effects on a child’s development, and the list includes lead and chromium, among others.

Clough says toy-safety standards have improved with passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. She says one of those “improvements” is a ban that goes into effect next year on small magnetic sets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

“The magnets have the power to bind through tissue, and that can really disrupt the digestive system,” she says. “It actually can lead to severe injury that has been seen in pediatric emergency hospitals.”

The Toy Industry Association claims PIRG’s past unsafe-toy reports were based on improper testing methods that aren’t approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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