Group issues list of potentially dangerous toys

With the arrival of the holiday season, it’s buyer beware for toy shoppers. And, once again, a Philadelphia-based research group has taken a look at potentially dangerous toys on the store shelves.

For years, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group has been sending its researchers to toy stores to gather up potentially dangerous items and take them to the lab for testing.

Despite recent federal restrictions on the level of chemicals allowed in children’s toys, some still come back toxic.

As an example, Sue Rzucidlo of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital points out a child’s sleeping mask that contains high levels of phthalates, a chemical used to soften plastic.

Vanessa Wright, with PennPIRG, said online databases list the toys that have been proved to have high concentrations of harmful chemicals. And, she said, shoppers can do their own choke-hazard tests.

“My advice for parents is, first of all, to use a toilet paper roll,” she said, suggesting shoppers test to see if items are small enough to fit in the tube. “Test if things … are too small for your children, if they could choke on them.”

Read the PennPIRG report “Trouble in Toyland,” and learn more about potential dangers and recalled toys, online.

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