Are there dangerous toxins in the toys your children play with? Doctors' producer Leslie Marcus investigates!
She visits the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to see what is being done to protect our little ones from potentially hazardous toys. The organization tests for a variety of safety concerns including lead content, phthalates (chemicals used to make plastics more flexible), and choking hazards.
Leslie also buys a variety of toys from different locations (discount stores, online, and from the wholesale toy district in Los Angeles) and takes them to ACT Labs to find out if they will pass the CPSC safety standards.
All of the toys we tested for lead at ACT Labs passed for lead content, which Leslie said was expected because in 2008 lead was banned in children's toys. One area of concern that she discovered was with items that are deemed general use products, which do not have the same regulations as children's toys. For example, the fidget spinner we tested is considered a general use product and had a lead content that had 250 times the amount of lead that is allowed in a child's toy.
Leslie credits the amazing work that CPSC is doing to ensure that harmful toys never enter the market, but she also encourages parents to check the website Saferprodcuts.gov, to check for toy recalls.
As for the most dangerous toys out there, Leslie found riding toys like non-motorized scooters caused the highest incidents of injuries. She explains that a quality helmet is vital for a child's safety while using a scooter. She also notes that if a helmet has been involved in an impact to not use it again.
Leslie also notes that parents need to be concerned about toys that are not authentic as they might contain harmful elements and not pass CPSC standards. "Toys are not immune to counterfeits, in fact, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of counterfeit toys seized in this country every year and that goes back to reading reviews when you are shopping online and on auction sites," she warns. She stresses to research a seller's reviews, especially the negative reviews, to find out if they might be selling fake products.
The Doctors are also joined by James Schwartz, Director of World Against Toys Causing Harm, who shares his findings from his organization's annual dangerous toy list. Watch the video below to see more about the toys that parents should be concerned about.
The Doctors reached to the toy companies examined in our investigation, one company did not comment at the time of taping. Tolo Toys said, "All Tolo Toys are designed with safety in mind, it was first introduced into the market, across the world, in 2004. At no point during its lifetime have any issues been raised regarding safety." Plan Toys said, "Kindly note that this release has taken us totally by surprise as our Oval Xylophone is our top #3 selling item here in the US and we sell thousands per year without any issues." The Toy Industry Association said in a statement, "Each year, we find these lists by W.A.T.C.H. to be needlessly frightening to parents; each year these allegations do not stand up to scrutiny when reviewed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Safety issues are not uncovered by the group's 'gotcha' reporting."