Be Careful What You Wish For: How to Be a Smart Toy Consumer this Black Friday

November 26, 2013  |  Other

Guest Post by Baron & Budd Shareholder and American Association of Justice President Burton Leblanc

Last week over 200,000 dolls from China were seized by U.S. authorities in ports throughout the country as they contained high levels of phthalates, a chemical plasticizer used to make materials more pliable that has been banned for use in children’s toys by Congress. This move protected Americans from buying the dangerous dolls contaminated with the chemical compound this holiday season and it brings us to this: they holidays are coming. Black Friday. Store-wide sales. Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Protecting your kids and family from dangerous products is an important thing to consider as, for every shipment that U.S. officials seize, there is another shipment that gets through unnoticed – and not because it’s safe.

In fact, in 2007 alone one study revealed that at least 35 percent of all toys had high levels of lead – the second-most deadly household toxin – and almost 5 percent contained arsenic – the most deadly household toxin – or toxic cadmium. By the end of the year there had been at least 42 recalls involving at least 6 million toys with excessive levels of lead. But some popular toys slipped through, like the Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game that was found to contain 75 times the maximum level of lead parts per million set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 40 parts per million lead while this Hannah Montana toy had 3,000 parts per million.) However, the game stayed on the shelves because the lead was found in its vinyl instead of its paint, meaning the excessive and dangerous levels of lead were not covered by regulations.

The risks of exposure to dangerous toxins and chemicals in toys is real, and even more so when you consider young children.

So what can we do? U.S. authorities like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) do their part but sometimes it’s not enough.

We also have to rely on consumer groups like World Against Toys Causing Harm who warn us about alleged risks. And when we need to get a dangerous toy off the shelves, we use the civil justice system, our country’s way of enforcing safety standards.

So before you step out the door this Black Friday? We suggest you take a look at the worst toy offenders of 2013. These are toys that we recommend you stay away from, wish list or not: http://toysafety.org/portfolio-items/toy-1/

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