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.
grandchildren live far away, I borrowed some toys from a friend who has a
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
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.
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
- Check whether
any toys already at home have been recalled. See www.cpsc.gov.
coalition’s Safe Start for Kids for more information.
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
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