COLUMBUS, Ohio - Toys are a big part of the holiday season, but the Ohio Public Interest Research Group said there is Trouble in Toyland. The group released laboratory testing on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, which have proven to cause serious health effects on the development of children. The group also said some toys on store shelves pose choking hazards.
High powered magnets are still a concern for children and still on store shelves. Children tend to swallow the magnets posting life-threatening gastrointestinal issues. Some are sold in sets of 100 or more.
"The rising number of magnet injuries in children and teenagers suggests that the sale of high-powered magnets should be prohibited. In the meantime, the best defense against high-powered magnet ingestion and a trip to the emergency department is to make sure they are not present where children, live, visit or play," said Dr. Bryan Rudolph, Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow at Children's Hospital in New York.
Toy industry responds
While doctors and PIRG say there is concern, the toy industry responded to these findings. "PIRG has issued another of its needlessly frightening reports. Its headlines cry for caution but the fine print clarifies that most of the products on their list actually comply with the strict toy safety standards that are already in place in the US. After searching high and low they found what we already knew ... toys are safe," said Joan Lawrence, VP Safety Standards for the Toy Industry Assocation.
There is a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, but PIRG found toys that are choking hazards for children. The group also found toys that are potentially harmful to children's ears and exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Some of the toys tested high for toxic substances. Some contained phthalates and others had high lead content.
"We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that's the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys," said Tabitha Woodruff, Advocate for Ohio PIRG.
PIRG highlighted some of the potentially dangerous toys:
Small parts label violation: PIRG said some of these labels are hard to read, too small, or obscured by additional information.
- Dragster cars $4.99
- Bowling game
- Ball on a stick launcher $1
Near Small Parts: PIRG said the toy looks like it should be eaten.
- Play Food $8.00
Choking: PIRG said the Consumer Product Safety Commission warning restricts balloons for children younger than 8 years old.
- Baby's 1st Birthday Balloons $1
- Baby's 2nd Birthday Balloons $1
Small Parts and Small Ball-Like Objects: PIRG said toy poses a hazard because it looks like it should be eaten.
- Super Play Food Set $19.99
Small Ball / Label violation: PIRG said toy contains small balls subject to more stringent test and a different warning.
- Golfing Game $3.20
Toxic Chemicals – Phthalates: PIRG said it tested at 320 ppm DBP which is below the federal standard of 1000 ppm but requires disclosure under Washington State and California law.
- Dora backpack
Toxic Chemicals – Lead: PIRG said it tested at 180 ppm for lead which violates the 100 ppm lead standard, although toys manufactured before August 2011 can still be sold if less than 300 ppm.
- Morphobot $6
Powerful Magnets and near small part: PIRG believes this is an ingestion hazard because of the shape.
- Snake Eggs $1
Potential Noise hazard: PIRG said it tested at decibel levels higher than what hearing experts recommend.
- Guitar $22.39
- Car Wheel / Horn $18.49
- FunKeys Car Keys $9.99
For pictures and more detailed descriptions of the hazards, click here.