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Source: Grand Junction Free Press

Dangerous and toxic toys end up on store shelves every year, according to a report by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

CoPIRG field director Lisa Ritland released the 27th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report last week at a news conference held at Community Hospital. Researchers visited national toy stores, malls and dollar stores in September, October and November in 2012.

Laboratory testing conducted by the parent organization, U.S. PIRG, found toys containing lead, cadmium and phthalates, all of which have been found toxic to the development of young children. The PIRG survey also found toys that presented choking hazards; extremely loud toys deemed potentially harmful because they exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Examples of items that made this year’s dangerous toys list include:

• Play Food, manufactured by Walmart. Play Food was cited as a choking hazard due to small parts and the fact it looks as if it should be eaten.

• Plastic handcuffs, manufactured by JA-RU, contains a carcinogen in the surface coating of the handcuffs. U.S. PIRG’s laboratory found 1,200 ppm antimony, which is 20 times the allowable amount for surface coatings in the product standard made mandatory in 2008.

• Morphobot, manufactured by GreenBrier International, tested at 180 ppm of lead which violates the current lead limit of 100 ppm lead. Toys manufactured before August 2011 can still be sold if they contain less than 300 ppm of lead.

U.S. PIRG’s report has led to regulatory action and numerous toy recalls. According to the report, in 2007, children’s product recalls reached an all-time high with 231 recalls of 46 million toys and 15 million other products.

In 1978, lead was banned in the U.S. for use in house paint, in dishes or cookware, and in products marketed for children. Lead is widely used in other countries, however, and can be found in imported toys.

Lead is especially toxic to brains of young children and can cause permanent mental and developmental impairments and has no business being in children’s products, the full report stated.

To see the full report, visit http://copirg.org/reports/cop/trouble-toyland-27th-annual-survey-toy-safety.