Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Report Highlights Unsafe Toys in Time for Xmas

TALLAHASSEE, FL– Before filling the stockings of little loved ones this holiday season, you might want to consider a recent annual report that lists potential toy dangers.

Pam Clough, campaign organizer for the 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 stresses.

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

Among the 24 toys on the list this year, Clough says PIRG 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 points out. "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, among others.

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

She says one of those improvements is a ban that goes into effect next year on small magnetic sets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

"The magnets have the power to bind through tissue, and so that can really disrupt the digestive system," she explains. "And it actually can lead to severe injury that has been seen in pediatric emergency hospitals."

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.

Photos/graphics added by the Observer

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