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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Beware Defective, Unsafe and Lead Tainted Toys This Season

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The volume of lead-tainted toys recalled from the market this year has been staggering. Parents face very difficult choices this holiday season as they try to shop for kids. Many stores have not bothered to clear aisles of toys that are free of lead, and some stores simply haven’t been able to remove all the lead toys because of the sheer volume of the recalls:

Many Chicago-area stores are routinely selling lead-tainted toys, including items with levels more than 10 times government safety limits, testing by the Tribune shows.

In one of the most comprehensive inquiries into lead in children’s products, the Tribune tested about 800 toys and other items sold in shops, department stores, supermarkets, discount outlets and on the Internet.

Those tests found that a dozen items violated the federal safety limit. An additional nine exceeded much stricter state standards, including a popular Ty Girlz doll bought at a shop in Naperville as well as an award-winning Baby Einstein block purchased online.

One of the best resources to use for checking to see if a toy has been recalled for lead (or any other reason) is the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. The CPSC website has up-to-the-minute safety news related to recently recalled consumer products, not just toys. Consumers can search the CPSC database for a specific toy or search by hazard – namely lead. There are also several other websites that track lead-tainted toy recalls. These resources report on safe toys, and most can be reliable sources for parents who desire problem-free solutions to their toy needs.

The wave of toy recalls this year all began in August, when Fisher-Price recalled over a million toys because the toys exceeded the federal lead paint safety standard. Ever since August, toy makers have been in a mad scramble to ensure that their suppliers were shipping lead-free product. The heightened scrutiny of inventories has created a major shortage of reasonably priced, kid-friendly toys. It will probably take a season for manufacturers to bounce back from the shock of all the recalls.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.