With the holiday shopping season in full swing, shoppers are looking for deals on the most popular toys. With so many new toys on the market, the Missouri Public Interest Resource Group (MoPIRG) released its annual safe shopping guide. “Trouble in Toyland” has been published for the last 27 years and offers helpful tips to help parents avoid unsafe toys.
Essentially, investigators visited toy outlets in malls and dollar stores in the previous three months to identify potentially dangerous toys that could be given as gifts to small children. They also researched recall notices established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop the annual guide. It focuses on three areas of particular concern:
Lead exposure - This metal can be especially toxic to young children’s brains and cause permanent cognitive impairments. Federal law prohibits children’s toys with lead content of more than 100 parts per million (ppm) from being sold.
Choking hazards – Small toy parts, marbles and balloons continue to be major causes of toy-related injuries and deaths young children. MoPIRG reports that between 1990 and 2011, more than 200 children have died from choking incidents. The guide highlights several toys that contained small parts in products for children under age three.
Phthaletes in Toys – These chemicals make plastics soft and flexible, but they are potentially toxic if they are eaten or chewed. A number of EPA studies have shown potential health effects due to exposure to phthalates.
Ultimately, toy makers must follow federal and state guidelines to avoid liability for injuring children, bit consumers can protect themselves by being familiar with potentially dangerous toys.
Source: MoPirg.org, Trouble in Toyland 2012, November 20, 2012