Washington (AFP) – Consumer activists cited a Captain America shield that contains 29 times more lead than allowed by law as one of the most dangerous toys of 2013.
Tougher laws mean toys sold in the United States today are safer than ever, said the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) as it released its 28th annual “Trouble in Toyland” survey of toy safety.
But as the Christmas shopping season kicks in, danger lurks in the form of toys that contain lead and other toxic chemicals — or which pose a choking risk if they’re small enough for a child to swallow.
“We need to protect our littlest consumers from dangerous toys,” Jenny Levin, U.S. PIRG’s public health advocate, told reporters in Washington behind a tableful of some of this season’s most dangerous toys.
The Captain American soft shield, which typically sells for $8.99, tested for lead content at 2900 parts per million (ppm) — way above the 100 ppm limit set down in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
“Unfortunately, some toys with (excessive levels of lead) are slipping through the cracks” and finding their way onto toy shelves, Levin said.
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pencil case tested for high levels of cadmium and phthalates, both considered “chronic health hazards” for children, said the report, posted on the U.S. PIRG website (www.uspirg.org).
Other toys of concern include a Super Play Food Set and a Fisher-Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbeque with plastic food items so small and authentic-looking that toddlers could potentially choke on them.