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Toxins still found in many toys

This week, I had the opportunity to attend a free toxic toy testing in Seattle, Wash., sponsored by the Washington Toxics Coalition. Members of the coalition were invited to attend.

Toy Testing IMG_4413 Since my grandchildren live far away, I borrowed some toys from a friend who has a five-month-old grandchild.

The tests on the toys were conducted with a portable X-Ray Fluorescene analyzer. The device identifies the elemental composition of materials on or near the surface of the products.

All of the three toys I brought contained polyvinyl chloride. The coalition is concerned about children playing with and chewing on toys made from PVC. Harmful chemicals, such as lead and cadmium, often are used as additives when PVC is manufactured.

The coalition recommends parents and grandparents:

  • Avoid buying toys that list vinyl or PVC as ingredients.
  • Choose plastic-free toys such as fabric teethers, unpainted wooden toys, and cloth and plush toys.
  • Check whether any toys already at home have been recalled. See

See the coalition’s Safe Start for Kids for more information.

In December, the coalition and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition tested more than 1,500 popular children’s toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC, and other harmful chemicals to inform parents and grandparents before they began their holiday shopping.

Lead was detected in 20 percent of the boys tested. The lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts per million federal recall standard used for lead in paint, which is the federal legal limit for toys that went into effect in February under a new law.

Levels of lead in many toys tested were significantly above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm of lead in children's products. Children's jewelry remains the most contaminated product category.

For details, see "One in Three Children's Toys Tested Found to Have Significant Levels of Toxic Chemicals."

In the photo, Josh Schramm, spokesman for the coalition, tests a toy with a portable X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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x-ray fluorescence

You still see so many toys that contain the lead. Lead is the major toxin in the today's toys...


Yes, lead continues to be a major problem in toys. I follow recent recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Lead is often the reason toys are recalled. Also, I recently saw a recall on girls shoes that didn't meet the lead paint standard.


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