Christmas shoppers warned over dangerous toys

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 17:17 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Dangerous or toxic toys remain on sale in US stores as Americans gird for the approach of Christmas and the rush to stock up on presents for eager children, a US consumer group said Tuesday.

In a report dubbed “Trouble in Toyland,” commissioners told how they had found unacceptable levels of lead and phthalates, or chemicals, in 25 kinds of toys, as well as products which presented a significant choking hazard.

“While most toys are safe, our researchers still found toys on the shelves that pose choking hazards and other toys that contain hazardous levels of toxic chemicals including lead,” Nasima Hossain, a spokeswoman from the US Public Interest Research Group, said in the report.

“Choking on small parts, small balls and balloons is still the leading cause of toy-related injury. Between 1990 and 2010 over 400 children died from toy-related injuries, but more than half choked on small parts, balloons or balls,” she added.

The issue was brought before US lawmakers with some people maintaining that powerful lobby groups are stopping Congress from going further and adopting even tougher laws to improve toy safety.

“It’s sort of unconscionable and outrageous that the Congress is trying to attack some of the authority and the funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” said Ivan Frischberg, the father of a two-year-old girl.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) welcomed the report, and acknowledged more work needed to be done.

“I believe that everyone — consumers, industry and government — is making progress on safety,” said CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler. “But, we need to continue to have all hands on deck when it comes to promoting product safety, including consumers and industry, in addition to the CPSC.”

Some 80 percent of the toys sold in the United States are imported, with most coming from China.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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