Wednesday, December 5, 2007

New Study on Lead in Popular Toys Released

The Associated Press reports on a study released today that tested many popular toys (purchased at well known retailers such as Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, etc.) found that 35% contain lead, many above federally mandated limits.  The AP article is available here.  An excerpt:

[Tracey Easthope, director of the Ecology Center's Environmental Health Project] said 17 percent of the children's products tested had levels of lead above the 600 parts per million federal standard that would trigger a recall of lead paint. Jewelry products were the most likely to contain the high levels of lead, the center said, with 33.5 percent containing levels above 600 ppm. Among the toys that tested above that limit was a Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game, whose case tested at 3,056 ppm.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a level of 40 ppm of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible learning disabilities and behavioral problems and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.

The timing of the study is inspired, of course, as it comes in the height of the shopping season, although some will already have completed their holiday shopping by now.  It certainly points to a need to rethink regulation (or the lack thereof) on this matter - whether it be through voluntary labeling, third party safety inspections or direct government regulation.  Will consumers reward markets, such as the EU, that regulate levels of hazardous chemicals in toys this season after the summer recalls?


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