St. Louis Public Radio News
4:23 pm
Tue November 23, 2010

"Trouble in Toyland" annual report warns about potentially dangerous toys

ST. LOUIS – As the holiday shopping season approaches, a new report is out detailing the safety of toys and children's products. The Missouri Public Interest Research Group's "25th Annual Trouble in Toyland" report warns consumers of potentially dangerous toys.

Matt Erickson, program associate with MoPIRG said that in the past month researchers tested dozens of toys from major national retailers.

"They used a mobile testing device which was a fluorescent light that could find dangerous metals in toys and if it tested positive they would send it to an EPA approved lab for further testing," Erickson said.

MoPIRG researchers found toys or children's products that posed a choking hazard and contained lead and other toxic chemicals that are considered dangerous neurotoxins and affect intellectual development.

Over the past 25 years, the Trouble in Toyland reports have led to over 150 recalls and other actions to get dangerous toys off the market.

Dr. Ken Haller, a pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, said that, despite the ban, there are still toys available that pose serious choking hazards.

"We've had a number of cases here over the years of kids who have tragic outcomes because of toys they've put in their mouth that have led to death or to permanent disability," Haller said.

According to MoPIRG, in the past three years at least 15 children have choked to death from balloons, toys or parts of toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibits the sale of toys to children under three if they fit in a test cylinder.

Haller suggested using an empty toilet paper tube to determine if a toy is safe. If it fits in the tube, the toy is too small for a child under three.

Read the full report from MoPIRG here

MoPIRG site for safe toy shopping (also compatible for your smartphone)