Lead in Toys

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Home => Product Alerts => Toys on Store Shelves Still Contain Deadly Levels of Lead

Toys on Store Shelves Still Contain Deadly Levels of Lead

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Toys with Lead
Didn't toy manufacturers learn a lesson from all the kids who died from lead tainted toys, or simply they don't care about our children for as long as they make profit?

The Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization, in collaboration with environmental health groups across the United States, tested 1,268 products, most of them still on store shelves, and more than 3,000 components of those products for lead and other deadly chemicals present in toys.


Lead was detected in 35% of the 1,268 products. That's 444 children's products tainted with lead. Lead was detected in 38% of the jewelry samples (504 total).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended a level of 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. Yet, 17% (215) of the products tested at levels above the 600 ppm, which is the federal recall standard used for lead paint! Jewelry had the most lead. 33.5% of the jewelry had levels above 600 ppm.

And, it's not just lead.

Other dangerous chemicals were found in toys. Of those toys tested for other chemicals, cadmium was found at levels greater than 100 ppm in 2.9% of products or 22 of 764 total products tested for cadmium. Arsenic was detected at levels greater than 100 ppm in 2.2% of products or 17 of 764 total products tested for arsenic. Mercury was found above 100 ppm in 7% of products or 5 toys of 764 tested.

"The government is not testing for toxic chemicals in toys, and too many manufacturers are not self-regulating, so we created the nation's first toy database to help inform and empower consumers," said Tracey Easthope, MPH, Director of the Ecology Center's Environmental Health Project. "Ultimately consumers need to compel the federal government and toy manufacturers to eliminate dangerous chemicals from toys."

Researchers chose to test these particular chemicals because they have been identified by regulatory agencies as problematic, and because of their association with reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer, and because they are found in children's products.

Babies and young children are the most vulnerable since their brains and bodies are still developing and because they frequently put toys in their mouths. The testing was conducted with a screening technology - the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer - which identifies elemental composition of materials on the surface of products.

"Toxic chemicals have no place in children's toys, period," said Ted Schettler, MD, Science Director at the Science and Environmental Health Network. "Even low-level toxic chemical exposures can have lifelong impacts. Getting toxic chemicals out of children's toys is a moral and medical imperative."

Lead

Lead is sometimes used as an additive in plastics, as well as in paints (particularly white and yellow hues). Exposure to it can lead to a number of health effects depending on the exposure level. It can cause brain damage as well as problems with the kidneys, blood, nerves, and the reproductive system. It can also cause learning and behavioral problems.

Cadmium

Cadmium is a heavy metal that is used as a stabilizer in PVC and in coatings and pigments in plastic and paint. Cadmium is classified as a known carcinogen, associated with lung and prostate cancer. Exposure to cadmium is also associated with developmental effects, bone loss, and increased blood pressure.

Chlorine (PVC)

Chlorine is likely associated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a widely used type of plastic that is of concern to the environment and public health during all phases of its life cycle. Flexible PVC contains chemicals called phthalates, some of which have been associated with decreased fertility, pre-term deliveries, and damage to the liver, testes, thyroid, ovaries, kidneys, and blood. There is also evidence that phthalates can pass from mothers to babies through the placenta and through breast milk.

Arsenic

Arsenic may be used to dye textiles and plastics used in some children's toys. Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen linked to lung, skin, and bladder cancer. It may cause deficits in brain development and intelligence, and can also lead to skin irritation, skin color changes, blood disorders, cardiovascular disease, and hormone disruption.

Mercury

Mercury may be used in inks, adhesives, and as a catalyst in reactions to form polyurethanes. Methylmercury is a form of mercury that is particularly hazardous to the developing brain.


HealthyToys.org also tested toys for bromine, chromium, tin and antimony -- chemicals that have all been linked to health problems and have been subject to either regulatory restrictions or voluntary limits set by industry associations or third party environmental organizations.

"With all of the toy recalls it is becoming increasingly difficult to shop for children," said Alexandra Zissu, co-author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy and mother of a 22-month-old girl. "HealthyToys.org eliminates fear of the unknown and allows parents to make better decisions about the products we're buying."

The good news is that safe toys are possible. 28% of the products tested did not contain any lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury or PVC, including many made in China. These results show that manufacturers can make toys free of unnecessary toxic chemicals.

HealthyToys.org provides specific guidelines for how to petition federal and state government agencies and toy manufacturers to urge them to phase out toxic chemicals from toys immediately.

With millions of toys on the market it was impossible to test them all. However, visitors to HealthyToys.org can nominate other products to be tested.


Without further ado, here are the top 11 children products with high chemical concentration and the top 9 with no chemical concentration. PPM indicates the concentration of the element that was detected in the component in parts per million.


The top 11 children products with high chemical concentration as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game

Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 5,617ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 1,327,337ppm; Arsenic 436ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Kids Slippers

Kids Slippers: Royal Designs (sizes 3-4) - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 2,063ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 154ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Squeeze Fish

Squeeze Fish (3) - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 676ppm; Chlorine/PVC 1,309,808ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

My Little Sunshine Mirror

My Little Sunshine Mirror - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 1,027ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Tyrannosaurus

Tyrannosaurus - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 676,423ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

My Pasture Play Set

My Pasture Play Set - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 47,578ppm; Cadmium 78ppm; Chlorine/PVC 1,429,561ppm; Arsenic 948ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Kids Boots

Kids Boots (STYLE 443449; ITEM 1682) - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 2,986ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 1,369,174ppm; Arsenic 99ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Kids Dress Up Shoes

Dress Up Shoes - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 369ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 133,549ppm; Arsenic 39ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Infant Shoes

Infant Shoes (STYLE 443559) - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 8,495ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 1,267,119ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

5 Bath Float Toys

5 Bath Float Toys - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 114ppm; Cadmium 429ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes (SIZE 12) - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 657ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 49ppm; Mercury 0ppm.




The top 9 children products with very little to no chemical concentration as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Big Top Circus Truck

Jackrabbit Creations: Big Top Circus Truck - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 2ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Bruin Stacking Cups

B.R. Bruin Stacking Cups - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

The First Years First Keys

The First Years First Keys - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Snap Lock Beads

Fisher-Price Snap Lock Beads - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 17ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 10ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Harlequin Jumping Jack

Harlequin Jumping Jack - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Car Wooden with Mouse

Selecta: Car Wooden with Mouse - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 2ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Amazing Animal Hippo

Fisher-Price Amazing Animal Hippo - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Baby Clip Pacifier Holder

Selecta: Baby-Clip Pacifier Holder - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.

Caterpillar Grasping Toy

Melissa and Doug: Caterpillar Grasping Toy - Combined levels of all components included into the product: Lead 0ppm; Cadmium 0ppm; Chlorine/PVC 0ppm; Arsenic 0ppm; Mercury 0ppm.




10 Toys with Most Lead as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Brush Your Teeth Robot

Brush Your Teeth! Robot by Tatiti - Lead 23,788ppm;

Dinner Party tea set

Dinner Party tea set by Starletz - Lead 12,635ppm;

ceramic tea set

Starletz large ceramic tea set - Lead 10,062ppm;

Elmo Take Along Card Games

Elmo's Take-Along Card Games - Lead 9,997ppm;

Bugs backpack bag

Bugs backpack/bag by Tyrrell Katz - Lead 7,132ppm;

My Pasture Play Set

My Pasture Play Set - Lead 6,733ppm;

shoes

Shoe, Style 443559 by Circo - Lead 5,197ppm;

Go Diego Go

Go Diego Go by Nick Jr. - Lead 4,608ppm;

Fairies backpack bag

Fairies backpack/bag by Tyrrell Katz - Lead 4,524ppm;

Construction equipment backpack bag

Construction equipment backpack/bag by Tyrrell Katz - Lead 4,514ppm;




Toy with Most Cadmium as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


P pendant

"P" pendant by unknown manufacturer - Cadmium 99,168ppm;




Toy with Most Arsenic as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Bugs backpack bag

Bugs backpack/bag by Tyrrell Katz - Arsenic 1,125ppm;




Toy with Most Mercury as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Bugs backpack bag

Bugs backpack/bag by Tyrrell Katz - Mercury 263ppm;




Toy with Most Bromine as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


Big Motorcycle Chopper Cruiser

Big Motorcycle Chopper/Cruiser Combo by Wheel World - Bromine 35,844ppm;




Toy with Most Antimony as reported by HealthyToys.org on 12/5/07:


My Pasture Play Set

My Pasture Play Set - Antimony 19,846ppm;





You can visit The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys at http://www.healthytoys.org to search for the rest of the tested toys by name, brand or type. Beware, as of this writing the website is awfully slow and you may not even be able to get on it.

Also, US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a webpage with a lengthy list of recalled toys that is being updated every time they issue a new recall for a dangerous toy.

The more information, the better for parents who are trying to find safe toys for their children.


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Lead in Toys