Posted by Claudia Grazioso on November 30, 2011
Oh, the holidays! Decorations, pretty garlands, blinking lights, Christmas parties, family friends and… shopping. Multiple trips to the mall. And the super-sized super stores. Fighting for a parking space. Searching for a shopping cart. Squeezing through the doors. Searching for that every-kid-must-have gift all while avoiding the pepper spray-wielding maniacs. As if holiday shopping wasn’t stressful enough, let’s add “Be Aware of Toxic Toys” to your December to-do list.
Fortunately, this task has been made a bit easier by a recently-published report called “Trouble In Toyland.” This report provides some food for thought for parents who are concerned about toxic chemicals in their children’s toys. Compiled by U.S. Public Interest Research Group, this report reveals that lab tests done on some toys have shown them to have high levels of lead and high levels of some phthalates that have already been banned.
The amount of lead allowed in children’s products used to be 300 parts per million, but in 2011, that level was dropped. Now, according to federal regulations, products for children can only have 100 ppm. And, interestingly, the American Academy of Pediatricians puts its limit for lead in children’s products even lower: 40ppm.
So how can toys that exceed that limit still be on the shelves? Because the law allows for toys that exceed the lead limit but that are, unfortunately, already in a store’s inventory to be sold. Though most of the toys profiled were found to have 300ppm, which exceeds current standards, some children’s items were found to have levels of phthalates that were up to 77 times higher than legal limits.
Not every toy is tested for these substances, and while that can be disconcerting for parents, it’s important to remember that most toys are considered safe and, at least now that the federal regulatory agencies seem to be paying a bit more attention to substances like phthalates and lead, they are getting safer every year. Check out the report and hit the toy store with confidence.