Thursday, November 22, 2018

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Popular toys contain toxics and other hazards, according to NYPIRG’s annual survey

NEW PALTZ -- This holiday season, watch out for dangerous and toxic toys. NYPIRG’s 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards. Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues.

“No one should worry about whether or not the toy they’re buying is toxic or dangerous,” said Jana Bergere, NYPIRG Consumer Protection Project Leader as SUNY New Paltz. “But in 2018, we’re still finding hazards in some of the most popular toys. Toy manufacturers must do better to ensure their products are safe before they end up in children’s hands and mouths,”  

For more than 30 years, Trouble in Toyland has issued toy safety guidelines and has provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards to small children. Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • Hazardous Slime: A number of popular ‘slimes’ had toxic levels of boron, likely in the form of borax, up to fifteen times the European Union’s limit. According to the EPA, ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, long-term reproductive health issues and can even be fatal. There are currently no limits on boron in children’s toys in the U.S.
  • Missing Online Choking Warnings: In a survey of five search pages for balloons sold on Amazon, U.S. PIRG found no choking hazard labels on 87 percent of the latex balloons marketed to parents of children under 2, an apparent violation of the law. Among children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death.
  • Privacy-Invasive Smart Toys: The report also highlights two smart toys, a robot toy and a tablet, with privacy concerns discovered through an investigation by the Mozilla Foundation. Every year, the potential for smart toys to expose private data becomes a more significant concern.

While there are currently no limits on boron in children’s toys in the U.S., the advocacy organization is calling for warning labels to be placed on products and a full public hearing to determine safe levels of boron.

“I should be able to trust that the toys I buy my children are safe,” said Eric Wood, NYPIRG’s Mid-Hudson Regional Coordinator and local parent.” However, until that’s the case, I’m glad that this report helps me watch out for common hazards in children’s toys.”

View the full Trouble in Toyland report at www.nypirg.org. Parents can find a list of unsafe toys, as well as tips for safe toy shopping this holiday season, at toysafetytips.org.  

 


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