The Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization, released the results of its testing of 1,200 popular children’s toys for toxic chemicals. While some toys had high levels of chemicals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic, others were free of these harmful additives.
Parents and other consumers can visitwww.HealthyToys.orgto search by product name, brand or toy type (i.e. dolls, teethers, jewelry, bibs, etc.) to learn how the products rate in terms of harmful chemical content.
Along with the Washington Toxics Coalition and other leading environmental health groups across the country, the Ecology Center developed www.HealthyToys.org to better inform consumers about the products they will be purchasing this holiday season.
In addition to testing 1,200 children's products, HealthyToys.org tested more than 3,000 components of those products. Highlights of the findings include:
•Leadâ€” Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a level of 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. HealthyToys.org found lead in 35 percent of all the products tested. Seventeen percent of the products had levels above the 600 ppm federal recall standard used for lead paint. The testing detected more than 6,700 ppm in Dollar Store animal figurines; 3,056 ppm in a Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Pack; and 1,700 ppm lead in a pair of Circo baby shoes.
•Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC/Vinyl)â€” HealthyToys.org determined products were made with PVC plastic by measuring their chlorine content and found that 47 percent of toys (excluding jewelry) tested had PVC. PVC contains additives that can be dangerous to human health, including phthalates. Exposure to phthalates is linked to birth defects of the genitals and altered levels of reproductive hormones in baby boys. There are currently no federal regulations limiting phthalates in children's products.
•Cadmiumâ€” Cadmium, a known human carcinogen, is a heavy metal that is used in coatings and pigments in plastic and paint. Currently there are no mandatory restrictions on cadmium in children’s products in the U.S. HealthyToys.org found cadmium at levels greater than 100 ppm in 2.9 percent of products â€” 22 of the 764 products tested for cadmium, including painted toys, PVC toys, backpacks, lunch boxes and bibs.
HealthyToys.org also tested toys for arsenic, mercury, bromine, chromium, tin and antimony â€” chemicals that have all been linked to health problems and have been subject to either regulatory restrictions or voluntary limits set by industry associations or third-party environmental organizations.
Twenty-eight percent of the products tested did not contain any lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury or PVC, including many made in China.