Make us your home page
Instagram

Group unveils annual list of 'dangerous' toys

WASHINGTON — Hidden dangers lurk in some of those less-expensive toys that parents might grab as stocking stuffers this time of year — like a Sesame Street Oscar the Grouch doll.

The small, furry, green Oscar, purchased for $6.99, was one of the toys singled out in the annual toy safety report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The consumer advocate's report, released Tuesday, found just over a dozen toys on store shelves that violate federal safety standards. Some had unsafe levels of lead or chemicals called phthalates, and others contained small parts that young children could choke on. Besides Oscar, other toys deemed potentially dangerous included a plastic book for babies; a $1 plastic minicrossbow that fires off little balls and a handheld "whirly wheel."

The Oscar doll has a small hat that could come off easily, which is a possible choking hazard, PIRG said. The crossbow's small parts also put young children at risk of choking, according to the report.

The book and the whirly wheel had high levels of lead, according to the study. But an importer of the whirly wheel disputes that, and says the company's own testing shows the spinning magnetic toy with lead levels well below the limit.

PIRG also warned about toys that are too loud and could lead to damaged hearing, such as an Elmo talking cellphone that the group says tested just above voluntary industry noise limits.

Ed Mierzwinski, the group's consumer program director, said industrial chemicals and toxins in toys were the biggest problems the group found this year. Exposure to lead can cause irreversible brain damage, and some studies have linked phthalates to reproductive problems.

Toymakers played down the report and pointed to government figures showing sharp declines in the number of national toy recalls.

"All eyes have been on toy safety for several years now," said Joan Lawrence, the Toy Industry Association's vice president for safety standards. "I am confident that the toys on store shelves are safe. The toy industry works year-round on this."

Government figures show 34 toy recalls in fiscal year 2011 — down from 46 recalls the previous year, 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008. Recalls related to lead were down from 19 in 2008 to four this past year.

PIRG credited a 2008 law that set stronger standards for children's products, including strict limits on lead, for helping to make many of the products on store shelves safer for youngsters. The law was passed after a wave of recalls of lead-tainted toys.

.Fast facts

Read the report

PIRG reviewed about 200 toys and other children's products from major retailers and dollar stores for its 26th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report. The full list and report can be found at uspirg.org/edfund/

toysafety-2011.

Group unveils annual list of 'dangerous' toys 11/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]