For the second straight year, HealthyToys.org is highlighting test results for more than 1,500 toys and children’s products. Researchers at the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, tested more than 1,500 popular children’s toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals in time for this year’s holiday shopping season. The results are sobering: One in three toys tested were found to contain “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern.
Lead was detected in 20 percent of the toys tested this year. In fact, lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint, and will exceed the US legal limit in February, according to the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Levels of lead in many toys were significantly above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm of lead in children’s products. (Children’s jewelry remains the most contaminated product category, maintaining its spot at the top of HealthyToys.org’s “worst” list.)
The site’s utility allows ease of use for busy parents and children’s advocates. Type in “Dora,” and several varieties of toys appear. Click on a specific toy, and up pop product ratings based on test results for lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury. The ratings range from low- to high-risk. A primer on the hazards of each substance and a breakdown of which components were tested lets consumers evaluate the risk.
The worst offenders? The High School Musical crown necklace, manufactured by F.A.F Inc,; the Speed Racer Remote Control Mach 5, made by Hot Wheels and something called the Halloween Pumpkin Pin, made by The Christmas Tree Shop, among many others, all carry sufficient toxins to endanger a child’s health.
The safest toys? Everything manufactured by the Melissa & Doug brand comes up with high marks. The venerable company Lego’s products are also highly rated, while Fisher Price’s Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Railway is praised for its low chemical content.
Click here to see how any product or manufacturers checks out or browse by type of toy or product. You can also get involved in the campaign to get dangerous toys off the shelves. Ask the government to sufficiently regulate toy manufactures in order to get toxic levels of chemicals out of the hands and mouths of children; Sign a petition asking the largest toy manufacturers and retailers to reformulate their products and to adopt a corporate chemicals policy, and tell your friends about HealthyToys.org.