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From phthalates to lead: What toxins are hiding in your child’s classroom?

toxins in classroom

U.S. PIRG Trouble in Toyland 2012: Don’t give dangerous toys this holiday season

As consumers, we assume that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is doing their job testing products and ensuring our children’s safety.  Unfortunately, the task is larger than the organization can handle, and toxic, dangerous toys, mostly manufactured cheaply in foreign countries, riddle the store shelves.  As parents and grandparents hunt for bargains, unbeknownst to them they are exposing their children to toxic heavy metals like lead and cadmium, choking hazards, such as magnets, and toxic plastic chemicals like phthalates.

For the 27th year, U.S. PIRG has released Trouble in Toyland.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. We found toys which contained phthalates, as well as toys with lead content above the 100 parts per million limit.
  • Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, we found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards.
  • We also found toys that are potentially harmful to children’s ears and exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • We discovered small powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

[Read more…]

Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, OH MY! Don’t Let Your Kids Wear Cheap Jewelry!

No one wants to buy expensive jewelry for their children, as they may lose or break these pieces; however, cheap jewelry can “contain dangerous levels of cancer-causing toxic chemicals”. We are NOT talking about the super cheap jewelry here that comes out of a machine, but jewelry found in major retailers.

Time Healthland reports:

The Ecology Center and Healthystuff.org report that 59% of low-cost jewelry sold at stores like Walmart, Kohl’s, Forever 21, H&M, Hot Topic and Target, contained one or more chemicals considered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to be a hazard to human health at high levels.

[Read more…]

Are Your Children’s Battery-Operated Toys Sickening Kids in China?

I despise battery-operated toys for their loudness and need of constant recharge.  In addition to the annoyance of these toys, there may be another reason to ban them from your home:

Children in rural China are falling ill from toxic fumes emitted from the Borui Battery Company’s plant.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Joan VilaChinese children poisoned by battery factory

Chinese children poisoned by battery factory

[Read more…]

Toys “R” Us Continues to Sell Toxic PVC Toys Despite 2008 Promise

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by thewastedsmileToys "R" Us continues to sell toxic toys

Toys "R" Us continues to sell toxic toys

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.

[Read more…]

Holiday Toy Safety: 25 Years of Trouble in Toyland

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Elizabeth/Table4Five25 Years of Trouble in Toyland

25 Years of Trouble in Toyland

With the holiday shopping season about to begin in earnest, and all of the over-consumerism it represents, we are once again cautioned by the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) that many toys are not safe.

Trouble in Toyland: The 25th Annual Survey of Toy Safety has just been released.

In researching the report, we visited numerous national chain toy stores and other retailers in September and October 2010 to identify potentially dangerous toys. We analyzed CPSC notices of recalls and other regulatory actions to identify trends in toy safety. This year, we focused our investigation on hazards from toys and other children’s products that contain the toxic chemicals lead and phthalates, and other metals restricted by the CPSIA.

[Read more…]

Around the Green Parenting Web: Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablet Recall to Lead in Juice

hylandsteething1. Gaia Health: FDA Bans Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Tablets

The FDA’s goal of making the world safe for Big Pharma is made obvious by their attack on a product for which the possibility of harm is so far-fetched that it’s laughable: Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Tablets. Well, it would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that an exceptionally safe product that’s been used by thousands to ease their children’s teething pains is now gone…

In its attack on Hyland’s, the FDA clearly stated:

The FDA has not evaluated Hyland’s Teething Tablets for safety or efficacy.

So, without any proof of any sort—not even an attempt to find any proof—the FDA decided that Hyland’s Teething Tablets should be banned. They don’t even provide any estimate as to the amount of the product that would have to be ingested to cause harm. That, of course, is because they don’t care….

The FDA’s first method is intimidation. In the case of Hyland’s Teething Tablets, they simply issue a warning to the public. They claimed that the product contains a “potentially toxic” agent, implied, without evidence, that it has caused harm to children, and claimed that an inspection showed “substandard control of the manufacturing operation”, though they don’t say what was wrong.

[Read more…]

Around the Green Parenting Web: Unintentional Home Birth to Viagra for Young Boys

Kristen Chase's new baby, unintentionally born at home.

Kristen Chase's new baby, unintentionally born at home.

1.  The Stir: Kristen Chase Has Unintentional Home Birth

Editor’s note:  Kristen of Cool Mom Picks and Motherhood Uncensored has written for us on many occasions.  We are extremely happy she had a home birth, but too bad she had to travel in an ambulance and spend an extra day in the hospital as a result, missing out on all the relaxing benefits of a home birth.  You can read her own version of the story on Motherhood Uncensored, which has been made famous by her twitter stream after the birth.

[Read more…]

Around the Green Parenting Web: Boycott Nestle to BPA Exposure

4850472543_f93426185eThere are so many wonderful eco-friendly family websites, many of which are in our blogroll.  I’d like to start a new series in which I highlight what my peers are writing across the web. Obviously, I don’t have time to write about every issue and topic on green parenting, and I want to share with our readers the amazing content these moms and dads are writing.  Here are five great excerpts of posts I’ve encountered this week, including action items.  Just click the titles to come to the original full posts on their home websites.

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Lawsuit: Inflatable Jump Bounce Houses Contain 70 Times Safe Level of Lead

Popular at birthday parties and fairs, inflatable bounce houses allow kids to jump and play to their hearts’ content.  I’ve always been concerned about the energy use and hearing damage caused by the blowers on these jump houses, but the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and the California Attorney General have found that they also “pose lead hazard to children”.

[Read more…]

CPSC Fines Mattel Record $2.3M Over Lead-Laden Toys

 Between September 2006 and August 2007, Mattel imported almost 900,000 toys that violated rules on lead levels. Their subsidary Fisher-Price imported as many as 1.1 million.

Now the corporation is paying the price. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commision, the $2.3 million fine is the highest levied against a toy company. Thomas Moore, the acting commision chair, said,

This penalty should serve notice to toymakers that CPSC is committed to the safety of children, to reducing their exposure to lead and to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

As we all full well remember, the lead recalls caused panic among parents. Mattel’s negligence in manufacturing had the collective consumer culture in the States pointing a big fat finger at China as the cause of problems.


But it’s not only China.

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Low Level Exposure to Lead Can Cause High Blood Pressure (among other problems)

The U.S. Center for disease control sets a limit for “safe” exposure to lead at anything below the 10 micrograms per deciliter threshold. There has been mounting evidence that adverse health effects in children are caused at a much lower levels.

Back when I testified at the Vermont Legislature in support of a Lead in Children’s Products Bill (that did ultimately pass!), I heard compelling testimony from two doctors, who shared (quoted from Non-Toxic Kids):

“At the hearing I listened to the testimony from two doctors, Dr. Best of the George Washington School of Medicine and Dr. Bruce Lanphear, pediatrics professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They explained how new research shows even low levels of lead (blood levels lower than what is considered “safe” at 5 mcg/L )can lead to multiple problems for growing children, such as reading problems, behavioral and attention problems, school failure, and a decreased IQ. Dr. Lanphear said “we should not wait for the CPSC and the EPA” as they often are prompted to act by individual state action, and can’t be counted on to lead the way.
[Read more…]

Jewelry Baby Can Play With: Oh Plah!

Oh Plah! is French for “Here you go!”.  This nifty bracelet is a colorful addition for a fashion forward Mama and does double duty as a toy to entertain a fussy baby.  Oh Plah! is free of lead, PVC, BPA, and phthalates.

My kids were always wanting to play with whatever was attached to my body and sometimes we ran out of the house without stashing a toy or two in the bag, so wearing a safe toy would have been a great help in our world.

There are no small or movable parts on this bracelet… it is one piece of durable, flexible material.  The bands are designed to stand up to lots of bending and chomping.  It can be cleaned up simply by washing in warm, soapy water.  In addition to being free of nasty chemicals, this bracelet meets or exceeds all CPSIA regulations and it is made in the U.S.A. [Read more…]

Use Stimulus Package Spending to Get the Lead Out of School Water Systems

Lead in Water at Schools

Water fountains in some L.A. schools tested up to 500 times the government level for lead, and high lead levels have been found in our capitol’s water system, but covered up with ‘science fraud‘.

In a nation that’s getting ready to distribute an economic stimulus package of astronomic size, where is the money to stop poisoning our kids?

[social_buttons]The author of the exposé of the D.C. lead incident, professor Marc Edwards, an environmental engineer, had this to say: “There’s no question that lead in schools is a big national issue —especially in some of the older urban cities that have this old plumbing infrastructure.” [Read more…]