I wonder if Cinderella’s tiara was coated with lead paint, cadmium and mercury? Doubt it. There’s a new report out showing the hazards with some toys, and this includes everything from lead paint to choking. As a journalist this did not surprise me, because we often hear about toy recalls, but as a mom, this really frustrates me.
Here’s the scoop. The Ohio Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, purchased and tested all kinds of toys, from various stores and brands and found choking hazards or hazardous levels of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals that can be toxic to children. The group laid out a bunch of toys and explained the problems with each of them. Some of them are within federal standards, but PIRG believes they are still dangerous. (The toys are listed on the toy safety website below.) One of the toys was a princess tiara. There are hundreds of the tiaras on the market and a favorite of little girls, including mine. As I’m covering this story, I’m sitting there thinking, “I’ve got a ton of tiaras just like this one in our playroom.“ So….how do I know ours are safe? Is it? Should I toss it? My next question was, “how do these toys even get on store shelves?“ I didn’t like the answer. The Consumer Product Safety Commission cannot do pre-market testing, which means it can only respond to a problem once it is discovered. Until things change on the federal level to prevent toys with lead, cadmium and other toxins from coming into our country, it is in our hands as parents to keep any dangerous toys away from our kids. I know, that stinks. I’d like to be able to trust that the toys I purchase are safe, but I can’t. Generally—they are safe, but we often see recalls for toys, jewelry and clothing due to lead paint. It’s a revolving door of toys that hit store shelves, only to be pulled later after being tested. I can’t tell you how frustrated I am with this.
So what is a parent to do? Do your research, buy green, and when in doubt, toss it out. (Sorry for the rhyme!) Look for toys made in the USA with labels showing they are free of toxic paints and chemicals. Look for toys that are free of phthalates, BPA and lead paint. Choose toys made of natural products, and keep an eye on recalls.
Here are a few websites to help you out with your research and holiday shopping.