State Director, Maryland PIRG
State Director, Maryland PIRG
Report provides toy safety shopping tips and warns parents about dangerous toys
Maryland PIRG Foundation
[Baltimore, MD] — This holiday season, watch out for dangerous and toxic toys. Maryland PIRG Foundation’s 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards. Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues.
“No one should worry about whether or not the toy they’re buying is toxic or dangerous. But in 2018, we’re still finding hazards in some of the most popular toys. Toy manufacturers must do better to ensure their products are safe before they end up in children’s hands and mouths,” said Maryland PIRG Fellow, Kyanna Cadwallader.
“As a father of four children and legislator for the State of Maryland it is imperative that we take a careful look at the safety standards of children’s toys and raise the consciousness of our family and neighbors on the possible dangers that can be harmful to our young people. I applaud Maryland PIRG and all of our partners concerned about the safety of our babies.” said Maryland State Senator Cory McCray.
For more than 30 years, Trouble in Toyland has issued toy safety guidelines and has provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards to small children. Key findings from this year’s report include:
- Hazardous Slime: A number of popular ‘slimes’ had toxic levels of boron, likely in the form of borax, up to fifteen times the European Union’s limit. According to the EPA, ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, long-term reproductive health issues and can even be fatal.
- Missing Online Choking Warnings: In a survey of five search pages for balloons sold on Amazon, U.S. PIRG found no choking hazard labels on 87 percent of the latex balloons marketed to parents of children under 2, an apparent violation of the law. Among children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death.
- Privacy-Invasive Smart Toys: The report also highlights a tablet with privacy concerns discovered by an investigation by the Mozilla Foundation. Every year, the potential for smart toys to expose private data becomes a more significant concern.
“Regulators need to determine the appropriate health-based standards to protect children from boron in slime. In the meantime, we want parents to know the risks, so they can supervise their kids accordingly,” said Cadwallader.
While there are currently no limits on boron in children’s toys in the U.S., the advocacy organization called for placing warning labels on products and a full public hearing to determine safe levels of boron.
In addition to identifying dangerous toys already on store shelves, Maryland PIRG provides a guide on how parents, grandparents and other caretakers can ensure toys are safe and stay updated on recalled toys at www.ToySafetyTips.org.
Maryland PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Foundation, is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.