24th Annual Toy Safety Report – Many Toys Still Hazardous

Media Releases

New Mobile Toy Tool Can Help Parents Shop Safe

Arizona PIRG Education Fund

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s annual Trouble in Toyland report.

The latest Trouble in Toyland report, along with a new interactive tool accessible via smart phone or computer – http://toysafety.mobi or http://www.toysafety.net – will help parents and other toy-buyers avoid some common hazards.

And if toy buyers discover they have bought a dangerous toy, they can report it to PIRG using the new interactive website. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund also encouraged consumers to report dangerous products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“Toysafety.mobi can help parents shop safely and avoid purchasing potentially dangerous toys for their kids,” said Whitney Swedlow, representative for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

The 2009 Trouble in Toyland report – and the interactive website reachable from mobile phone or computer – focus on three categories of toy hazards: toys that may pose choking hazards, toys that are excessively loud, and toys that contain the toxic chemicals lead and phthalates.

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund noted that some progress has been made on toy safety in the past year, thanks to a new law overhauling the CPSC.

“There is no magic wand to fix the CPSC, and making products safer won’t happen overnight,” said Swedlow. “Restoring consumer confidence in the products we buy will take continued hard work on the part of the CPSC, responsible retailers and manufacturers.”

The findings in this year’s Trouble in Toyland highlight the need for continued improvement in order to protect American’s children:

• Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, there are still toys available that pose serious choking hazards. Between 1990 and 2008, at least 196 children died after choking or asphyxiating on a toy or toy part; three died in 2008 alone.

• Some toys tested exceeded 85 decibels sound level, which is the volume threshold established under American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Almost 15 percent of children aged 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss.

• Earlier this year, toys and other children’s products containing more than 0.1% of phthalates were banned. Still, PIRG found children’s products that contained concentrations of phthalates up to 7.2%.

• Lead was severely restricted in toys earlier this year, but PIRG researchers found lead-laced toys on store shelves. Lead has negative health effects on almost every organ and system in the human body.

According to the most recent data from the CPSC, toy-related injuries sent more than 82,000 children under the age of five to emergency rooms in 2008. Nineteen children died from toy-related injuries that year.

For 24 years, the Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards.