Survey finds dangerous toys on store shelves, shopping tips can help parents shop safe

facebook_post_2Anchorage, AK, Dec 5, 2016 – Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to the Alaska Public Interest Research Group’s 31st annual Trouble in Toyland report. The survey of hazardous toys found that, despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.

The report reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for toxic chemicals, including lead, chromium and phthalates, all of which can have serious, adverse health effects on a child’s development. The survey also found examples of small toys that pose a choking hazard, overheating chargers and batteries in electronic products, and powerful toy magnets that can cause serious injury if swallowed.

“Alaskans want to buy safe toys that won’t bring harm to their loved ones. Unfortunately, all toys on the market aren’t without hazards and this report can help parents learn what to look-out for when shopping both in their local stores here in Alaska and online,” said AKPIRG Director, Lori Hanemann.

For 31 years, the AKPIRG Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children, and provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards.

Key findings from the report include:

● Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. We found toys containing phthalates well over legal limits, as well as toys with lead or chromium content.

● Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, we found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards.

● We continued to find small, powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

“Chemicals that are known to be neurotoxic and carcinogenic have no place in our children’s toys. It is unconscionable that toy manufacturers put children’s health at risk and that regulatory agencies do not take appropriate action to prevent harm,” said Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

Stronger rules have helped get some of the most dangerous toys and children’s products off the market. Rules put in place by the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act tightened lead limits and phased out dangerous phthalates. However, not all toys comply with the law, and holes in the toy safety net remain.

To download our full Trouble in Toyland report, click here. Parents can find a list of unsafe toys, as well as tips for safe toy shopping this holiday season, at toysafetytips.org, and download ACAT’s fact sheet here.

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The Alaska Public Interest Research Group is a statewide non-profit, non-partisan organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. http://www.akpirg.org

Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) is a statewide environmental health and justice research and advocacy organization. Our mission is: We believe everyone has a right to clean air, clean water, and toxic-free food. Driven by a core belief in environmental justice, ACAT empowers communities to eliminate exposure to toxics through collaborative research, shared science, education, organizing, and advocacy.