One in three children’s toys tested have significant levels of toxic chemicals including lead, flame retardants, and arsenic.
For the second year in a row, the Ann Arbor, Michigan based Ecology Center has released a consumer guide to toxic chemicals in toys. The guide–online at HealthyToys.org–reviews over 1,500 popular children’s toys on sale on store shelves this holiday season.
The review found that one of three toys contained “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern. For example, lead was found in 20% of the toys tested this year. Lead levels in some products exceeded the federal recall standards for lead paints and will exceed new regulations that go into effect in February of 2009. The lead paint standard is 600 parts-per-million (ppm) while the American Academy for Pediatrics recommends limiting lead in children’s toys to 40 ppm. 3% of products exceeded 600 ppm.
However, it’s not just lead. 4.2% of toys contained Mercury, 2.9% contained bromine–likely due to the use of brominated flame retardants. Arsenic was found in 18.9% of products. 27% of toys were also made using PVC which creates major environmental hazards in its manufacture and disposal.
While the review highlights many potentially dangerous toys, its creators point out that 62% of products contain low levels of chemicals of concern and 21% contain no chemicals of concern.