On February 15, 2008, toy giant Toys “R” Us promised consumers it would phase out toys with dangerous chemicals.
REDUCTION OF PHTHALATES AND POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) — USE:
- All manufacturers have been notified that by the end of 2008 juvenile products sold in any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store in the United States must be produced without the addition of phthalates that have raised concerns about infant safety.
- Additionally, as we move closer to our goal of offering PVC-free products, we have already begun replacing PVC and phthalates in juvenile products manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc.
Unfortunately, they have not kept their promise.
Toys “R” Us is “the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer”. There are 814 stores in the US, and 716 stores scattered throughout the world. The company’s current propaganda on toy safety is as follows:
— USE OF PHTHALATES AND REDUCTION OF POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC)
Juvenile products shipped to Toys“R”Us, Inc. must be produced without the addition of phthalates which have raised concerns about infant safety.
Recognizing that some of our customers are seeking PVC-free products for infants, since 2007 the company has taken steps to eliminate or reduce PVC in juvenile products manufactured exclusively for Toys“R”Us, Inc. Specific categories, such as vinyl bibs, have been removed entirely from store inventories and replaced with PVC-free merchandise lines. In addition, PVC reductions have been made in certain infant bath, feeding and teething lines produced solely for the company. Toys“R”Us, Inc. continues to look for ways to reduce or replace PVC in its exclusive product offerings for infants.
Unfortunately, Toys “R” Us’ safety policies don’t hold up to independent testing.
Independent researchers with the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor conducted two rigorous rounds of testing on over 60 random toys using the same devices as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This rigorous testing proved one thing: Despite promises to reduce toxic chemicals in toys, Toys “R” Us continues to sell products made out of PVC, the “poison plastic,” without adequate cautionary labeling for parents.
In fact, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the Teamsters Office of Consumer Affairs is calling for Congressional action against the toy giant, which is sort of ironic since the CEO of the company states:
As such, we have made it very clear to manufacturers that we need not wait for the finalization of the much-needed tighter federal standards that are currently pending in welcome legislation before the U.S. Congress. Our customers trust and expect that we will always do the right thing when it comes to the safety of children, and we take this responsibility very seriously.
Specifically, the following Toys “R” Us toys (72.5% of those tested!) contain PVC:
Toys that tested positive for PVC include Barbie, “Toys Story 3” Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures, Disney Princess Royal Giggles doll, Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Hangout, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Diego figures, Sesame Street Elmo Faucet Cover, Club Penguin figurines, Imaginext toddler action figures and many others, from dolls and balls, to baby bath time toys and products, and even My Name Sippy Cups. PVC was also found in toys whose brands are owned by Geoffrey LLC, a subsidiary of Toys “R” Us, including You and Me dolls, Especially for Baby, and Sizzlin’ Time items.
Other toxins found in these toxic toys include:
Perhaps most upsetting is that the majority of the toys that tested positive for these chemicals are designed for children under 36 months.
I do not shop at Toys “R” Us. One does not exist within 100 miles of my home since the store closures a few years ago. What saddens me the most about reports like this is that the average person shopping at large toy retailers are probably not reading these reports about toy safety. Consumers read the company’s assurances on toy safety and believe them. I do the same thing for the companies I trust.