The Ann Arbor, Michigan based Ecology Center has launched a new website called HealthyToys.org containing the results of tests on over 1,200 children’s toys. The toys were tested for toxic chemicals in response to widespread concern over the safety of children’s toys coming from China. The tests found that “some toys had high levels of chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic,” while only 28% did contain any lead, cadmium, arsenic, or PVC–all of which have been linked to health concerns or are restricted in some capacity by regulatory agencies.
While the website contains an online database to help parents purchasing toys for their children, it does also make it clear that the problem is a result of regulatory failures and that the problem cannot be solved simply by selectively purchasing toys. The group encourages people to contact their elected officials to demand that they restrict the use of toxic chemicals in toys. However, the watchdog group Public Citizen has argued that this might be difficult as World Trade Organization (WTO) rules make it difficult to inspect items coming into the United States, especially when it comes to dealing with “problem” countries.