HARTFORD -- A public interest group released a list of toys they called dangerous, and warned consumers to be careful this holiday season.
ConnPIRG released the list at a press conference at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
The group found dangerously high levels of lead in two fidget spinners they bought at Target. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass tested 33,000 ppm of lead, which is 300 times higher than the allowable limit. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal had 1,300 ppm of lead. Target promised to remove the spinner from their shelves.
ConnPIRG said several toys had small parts but did not have a warning label stating they were not suitable for children under the age of three. Balloons also pose a choking hazard for small children, said ConnPIRG.
In a new category, the group also warned parents about toys that connect to the web and may share data and recordings over unsecure connections, potentially gathering personal information such as a child's name and school. “My Friend Cayla,” which was purchased at Kohl’s and Walmart, was banned in Germany and is under investigation for possibly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection act.
"We found these toys at nationwide chains, everywhere from dollar stores to big box stores like Target," said Arielle Mizrahi of ConnPIRG.
In addition to high lead levels and data-collecting toys, ConnPIRG also expressed concern over powerful magnets, overheating batteries and balloons.
The Toy Association’s released a statement in response to the report.
Many of the items named in U.S. PIRG’s supposed “Trouble in Toyland” report were previously recalled due to ongoing regulatory vigilance, and are no longer offered for sale. In typical fashion, PIRG has resorted to simply listing recalled toys because they couldn’t find safety violations among the toys that are on the market. As a result, the group is needlessly frightening parents and caregivers during what is supposed to be a joyful time of year.
Recalls are very rare – typically, only 0.003 percent of the three billion toys sold each year in the U.S. are recalled. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy recalls have declined dramatically in recent years. The CPSC consistently lists toys among the safest consumer product categories found in the home.
It is concerning that several of the items in PIRG’s report are NOT toys (hoverboards, dishes, balloons, etc.) The inclusion of these products in a supposed “toy” safety report undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are safe.
U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, and include more than 100+ standards, such as: strict lead limits, limits on sound level output, and a highly effective small parts regulation that was developed with the help of pediatricians. Toy companies must also comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) – a federal law that establishes privacy and security requirements for connected toys.
As innovative products continue to emerge, the toy industry works with experts to review and revise toy safety standards whenever necessary. U.S. PIRG has been repeatedly invited to participate in the continual review of toy standards – but each time, the group declines this invitation.
Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers they know and trust, and follow the age-grading on toy packaging. The Toy Association educates parents about choosing age-appropriate toys, and encourages parents to read all instructions and safety warnings on toy packaging and supervise their children at play.
Safety is the toy industry’s top priority every day of the year. For more information, families are invited to visit www.PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association’s website for parents and caregivers.