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Dangerous Toys Mean "Trouble in Toyland?"

PHOTO: A toy tambourine is among two dozen toys named as potential hazards for children in the latest annual Trouble in Toyland report. Photo courtesy of U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
PHOTO: A toy tambourine is among two dozen toys named as potential hazards for children in the latest annual Trouble in Toyland report. Photo courtesy of U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
December 8, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Before West Virginians fill the stockings of little loved ones this holiday season, they may want to consider a new annual report that lists potential toy dangers to watch out for on store shelves.

Pam Clough, a campaign organizer with U.S. Public Interest Research Group says PIRG has released its Trouble in Toyland report for 29 years now and, as a result, more than 150 toys have either been recalled or taken out of retail stores.

"It is great to see that progress is being made, but it's evident that there are still dangerous toys on the shelves," she says.

The Toy Industry Association maintains PIRG's past unsafe toy reports were based on improper testing methods that aren't approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Clough says the findings highlight the need for consumers to be proactive and do their research before buying, and also examine items that already have been purchased for possible dangers.

Among the 24 toys on the list this year, Clough says her organization uncovered four main hazards – toxins, choking risks, magnets and excessively noisy toys.

"We found toys that contained phthalates that are well over the legal limits,” she stresses. “For example, a Dora backpack was 20 percent phthalates, which is ridiculous."

Clough says the toxic chemicals found in toys can have adverse health effects on a child's development, and the list includes lead and chromium.

She says toy safety standards have improved with passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV