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MA Toys Tested: Toxics Found in 1 of every 3 Toys

December 3, 2008

Boston, MA - A Disney Fairies chair set, Hannah Montana jewelry, and High School Musical items have made this year's "toxic toys" list in Massachusetts, according to The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow. Popular toys were tested for lead, arsenic, mercury, and plastics that mimic hormones, and one out of three toys had chemical levels "of concern."

State Representative Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) says safer alternatives are available, and it's going to take state and federal laws to keep children safe.

"Children are most susceptible because their brains and reproductive systems are vulnerable. We have to require the chemical and manufacturing industries to use safer alternatives."

The Massachusetts legislature is set to consider a bill to require safer chemical alternatives in consumer products.
Children's metal jewelry is the most contaminated product category tested, because of lead levels. Toys and products with plastics and vinyl that can contain hormone mimickers was the next most contaminated category in the testing.

Josh Komyerov, government affairs director for The Arc of Massachusetts is the parent of a young boy, and he works with children with disabilities. He says safety standards are long overdue.

"I'm frustrated that my child, and children that I work with, are still playing with toxic toys."

Cindy Luppi is the director of The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow. She says there are plenty of safe options in the toy aisle.

"Avoiding vinyl, going for cloth, going for wood; safe plastics are fine for safe toys."

Industry response to the toy testing is that the testing is not of high quality, and that some of the chemicals detected are not listed as dangerous under current federal standards. Additionally, a majority of products tested did not contain high levels of chemicals of concern.

Those shopping for toys can search the test database at

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MA