PennPIRG releases "Trouble in Toyland" report

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- For 32 years, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group, or PennPIRG, has been looking at all the toys on the market for any safety concerns. And despite recent product safety regulation reforms, they say dangerous toys still exist.

Read PennPIRG's "Trouble in Toyland" full report:

Here's some really important information for all of us before we do our holiday toy shopping.

PennPIRG says toys that pose a hazard to kids are being sold at dollar stores, big box stores, and online.

Michael Roles of PennPIRG said, "Parents need to be vigilant when they're shopping this holiday season."

PennPIRG's Trouble in Toyland report includes toys with the following dangers: data-collecting toys; choking hazards including balloons, small parts and batteries; magnets that can be ingested; toxic substances including lead and phthalates; overheating toys including hover boards; and excessively loud toys.

"When our researchers went out, we again found products that are hazardous to our children," Roles said.

PennPIRG's reports have led to 150 recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission but the group says dangerous toys are still on the market.

When we asked Roles if a particular doll was a good example of a data-collecting toy, he said, "Yes, it asks kids questions and connects to Bluetooth and doesn't necessarily have a secure connection."

PennPIRG says the doll in question has been banned in Germany for privacy violations and is subject to a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

We also asked about fidget spinners, the wildly popular toy with children, but Roles says they also pose a danger.

"We found that this fidget spinner in particular has 300 times the safe limit (of lead) for children... And we all know the dangers lead poses to children. It's very harmful during brain development," Roles said.

The Toy Association released the following statement following PennPIRG's report:

"Many of the items named in U.S. PIRG's supposed "Trouble in Toyland" report were previously recalled due to ongoing regulatory vigilance, and are no longer offered for sale. In typical fashion, PIRG has resorted to simply listing recalled toys because they couldn't find safety violations among the toys that are on the market. As a result, the group is needlessly frightening parents and caregivers during what is supposed to be a joyful time of year.

Recalls are very rare - typically, only 0.003 percent of the three billion toys sold each year in the U.S. are recalled. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy recalls have declined dramatically in recent years. The CPSC consistently lists toys among the safest consumer product categories found in the home.

It is concerning that several of the items in PIRG's report are NOT toys (hoverboards, dishes, balloons, etc.) The inclusion of these products in a supposed "toy" safety report undermines the toy industry's deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are safe.

U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, and include more than 100+ standards, such as: strict lead limits, limits on sound level output, and a highly effective small parts regulation that was developed with the help of pediatricians. Toy companies must also comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - a federal law that establishes privacy and security requirements for connected toys.

As innovative products continue to emerge, the toy industry works with experts to review and revise toy safety standards whenever necessary. U.S. PIRG has been repeatedly invited to participate in the continual review of toy standards - but each time, the group declines this invitation.

Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers they know and trust, and follow the age-grading on toy packaging. The Toy Association educates parents about choosing age-appropriate toys, and encourages parents to read all instructions and safety warnings on toy packaging and supervise their children at play.

Safety is the toy industry's top priority every day of the year. For more information, families are invited to visit, The Toy Association's website for parents and caregivers."


For more information, visit U.S. PIRG and Recalls.

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