Just in time for the nation's annual gift-buying orgy, U.S. PIRG has issued its 34th annual Trouble in Toyland report. It's a guide to help consumers avoid buying toys that contain lead, have small parts on which kids can choke, or are otherwise unsafe. PPIRG explains that "[o]ver the past 33 years, our annual reports have led to more than 150 recalls of unsafe toys, inspired legislation like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and empowered parents to take key actions to ensure toys are safe." More work is needed, but because of consumer protection efforts, toys are safer than ever. Here are the first three paragraphs of the Report's introduction:
Every year millions of parents, grandparents and caregivers buy toys for the loved ones in their lives.Luckily, these toys are safer than ever thanks to years of progress driven by consumer non-profits, public health organizations, elected officials, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
For 34 years, our annual Trouble in Toyland has helped expose threats, including high levels of lead, “smart” toys with data security flaws, choking hazards, and more. By revealing these dangers, the report has empowered parents to take action to ensure toys are safe, while simultaneously pushing decisionmakers to enact legislation like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to remove these threats completely.
Despite that progress, dangerous toys continue to reach the market and injure children. In May, the Washington Attorney General announced testing, which revealed illegal levels of lead and cadmium in supplies and kids’ jewelry. There were 15,000 purchases of these products. In August, the Wall Street Journal found thousands of toys that failed to meet safety standards for choking hazards, toxics, and other threats–including two toys with illegal levels of lead.