Group warns of dangerous toys for the holidays

TRENTON, N.J. - November 23, 2010

That's the warning from the Public Interest Research Group's 25th annual report "Trouble in Toyland."

  "Some of these things are slipping through and the reason we did this report is so we can show some of these toxic chemicals still are making it  on to store shelves," said Gideon Weissman of the NJ PIRG.

For instance, at retail stores in this area, PIRG investigators found items like a popular backpack with a smiling face. It's actually made with red paint that contains phthlalates, which can cause reproductive problems later in life.

Play handcuffs the PIRG had on hand contained antimony, a human carcinogen, while a shiny tiara was said to be coated with a substance that includes 87 parts per million of lead. It actually meets federal standards, but doctors don't believe that's safe.

"The Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends lead levels of 40 ppm or less, so there's a big disparity," said NJ Health Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh.

The health commissioner went on to say exposure to some of these chemicals, even in small doses, can have devastating effects on children.

  "You have behavioral issues, you have intellectual challenges, you have neurological deficits," said Dr. Alaigh.

Another concern is the choking hazard posed by toys with small parts or pieces. An easy way to know if a toy is a choking hazard is to take a simple toilet paper roll from home. If the pieces can fit through the tube then they're small enough to get lodged in a toddler's throat 

  If you're out shopping and have questions about toys that may pose a safety hazard to children, PIRG has a mobile website to help keep you informed.

Check out that website by clicking here.

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