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PIRGIM Education Fund

Consumers beware: survey finds dangerous toys on store shelves

PIRGIM presents Trouble in Toyland report at Beaumont Children’s Hospital Safety City U.S.A.
Beaumont Health System

Right to left: Eric Mosher, Sen. Roger Kahn, and Erica Surman present at the 28th annual  Trouble in Toyland” news conference at Beaumont’s Safety City.

Shopping for toys this holiday season? Parents and gift-givers beware, the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan today announced dangerous toys can still be found at retailers nationwide.

The good news, according to PIRGIM's 28th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, over the past five years, stronger rules have helped get some of the most dangerous toys and children’s products off the market.

PIRGIM's report reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates. All of these toxins have been proven to have serious adverse health impacts on the development of young children. The survey also found small toys that pose a choking hazard; extremely loud toys that threaten hearing and toy magnets that can cause serious injury.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents and caregivers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys,” said Eric Mosher, PIRGIM advocate.

The "Trouble in Toyland" report includes a list of dangerous toys that surveyors found on toy store shelves. It also offers safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children. The group also provides a Facebook quiz to help educate parents and others about toy-related hazards.

"It's the unseen dangers that trouble me, lead and phthalates," explains Donna Bucciarelli, R.N., trauma prevention coordinator, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak; and education program manager, Safety City U.S.A., a Beaumont Children's Hospital program. "Thanks to the ongoing efforts of PIRGIM, parents and gift-givers can purchase safer, less toxic toys."

Key findings from the "Trouble in Toyland" report:

  • Toys with high levels of toxic substances can still be found on store shelves. PIRGIM found toys with high lead levels including a toddler toy with 29 times the legal limit of lead and play jewelry for children with 2 times the legal limit. They 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, PIRGIM found toys that still pose choking hazards.
  • PIRGIM also found toys that are potentially harmful to children's ears and exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • PIRGIM also discovered small powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

 “Our leaders need to do more to protect America’s kids from the hazards of unsafe toys – no child should ever be injured, get sick, or die from playing with a toy,” said Mosher.

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