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OR Santas: Check the List Twice for Toy Safety

November 27, 2007

Portland, OR – Oregon Santas are being advised to dig through their big bags of toys to make sure recalled gifts didn't accidentally find their way into Kris Kringle's bag. It's not an easy task this year, with new toy recalls almost every day. And some of the recalled items are still being advertised, adding to the confusion.

James Swartz with World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) says they've spent years educating parents, in Oregon and around the country, about toys that are choking hazards or strangulation risks -- but today's parents also have less obvious safety hazards to worry about.

"Parents are unable to visibly inspect toys to find threats such as chemicals or lead, which is causing a feeling of helplessness among consumers. Caretakers must be diligent even after the toy is purchased, to make sure it is safe for their child."

A new study from Cornell University shows even levels of lead below federal "safe standards" are associated with reduced I.Q. scores in kids. Swartz believes every toy should be tested before it gets onto a store shelf. Currently, testing is done after toys are on the market, and he worries the recalls are not effective because once products are sold and taken home, most never get returned following a recall.

Swartz explains one of the most-hyped toys, "Aqua-Dots," has turned out to be so dangerous that it was added as Number Eleven to the WATCH "Top Ten" list of most hazardous toys of 2007.

The list of the top ten worst toys of the year is available on the WATCH Web site:

To view a full copy of the Cornell University study, visit its Web site, at

Dondrea Warner/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - OR