Several toys with high lead levels or toys that could cause young
children to choke were found at major retailers and discount stores
in the last few months, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said
Tuesday. The consumer safety group analyzed 50 toys for its annual
report. Violations were found in fewer than a dozen, including a
Captain America toy shield and play jewelry.
PIRG said the Captain America Soft Shield purchased at Toys R Us had
29 times the legal limit of lead. A package of toy jewelry rings
from Dollar General tested positive for lead twice the legal limit,
said the report.
Small parts that could pose a choking risk were found in six toys
that the group said did not carry the necessary warning labels for
children. PIRG said three toys were too loud and exceeded federal
limits on decibels: two Leap Frog phones for toddlers — the Chat &
Count phone and the Lil' Phone Pal — and the Fisher Price Laugh &
The toy industry disagreed with the report's findings, saying that
toys are actually safer than ever before and questioning the testing
methods used by PIRG.
"We know that toys are safe," said Joan Lawrence, vice president of
standards and regulatory affairs at the Toy Industry Association.
"In this country, by law, toys are required to have been tested and
certified before they are put on store shelves."
Lawrence said PIRG did not use a testing laboratory accredited by
the federal agency that oversees toy safety — the Consumer Product
Safety Commission, which approves labs for manufacturers to use for
required testing on their products. PIRG acknowledged that the
testing lab it used was not CPSC approved, but said it is the same
lab it has been using for years.
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CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis said commission staff across the
country began picking up samples of the toys highlighted by PIRG
over the weekend and will test them to see if further action is
Overall toy safety, Davis said, has improved in recent years.
Government figures show 31 toy recalls in fiscal year 2013, which
ended Sept. 30 — none involving lead. That's down from 38 recalls in
2012; 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008.
A 2008 law that set stronger standards for children's products,
including strict limits on lead, has helped make many products safer
for youngsters. The law was passed after a wave of recalls of
The "Trouble in Toyland" report can be found at
Press; JENNIFER C. KERR]
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