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Toy Shopping in Wisconsin? Check the List Twice for Safety

November 23, 2007

Madison, WI – Preparing for this weekend's holiday shopping will require some extra homework because of the millions of toys recalled over safety issues. Astute Wisconsin shoppers will notice that many of those recalled toys are still featured in advertising, since the ad campaigns were designed and printed long before the problems came to light.

James Swartz with World Against Toys Causing Harm says his organization has spent years educating parents about toys that are choking hazards or strangulation risks, but today's parents have less obvious safety hazards to worry about. In the past, he explains, obviously dangerous items were easy to spot, but recent recalls have targeted lead and other dangerous substances, which are impossible for parents to detect.

"Consumers comprehend the risks when it comes to choking or strangulation, but with issues such as chemicals and lead, parents understandably feel a bit helpless. Because there's no way to know, we are all relying on the government and the industry to do the right thing."

And therein lies the problem. Swartz believes every toy should be tested before it is placed on a store's shelf, but now, testing is done when toys are already on the market. Swartz says recalls are ineffective for keeping hazardous products away from kids, because most of them are never returned to stores. One of this season's most-hyped toys, "Aqua-Dots," has turned out to be so dangerous that Swartz added it as number eleven to his "Top Ten" list of most hazardous toys of the year.

"The fact that these toys are being placed on store shelves in the United States doesn't mean they're safe, and that is an important lesson for American consumers to learn."

The 2007 list of most dangerous toys is available online at

Rob Ferrett/John Robinson, Public News Service - WI