Not all toy stories are warm and fuzzy

On the table behind consumer advocate Megan DeSmedt sat toys called Baby’s First Train Set, Handy Manny’s Big Construction Job and Princess Expressions Tiara and Jewelry Set. There was a picture of a young child putting a toy in his mouth.

DeSmedt was at St. Peter’s School on Third and Lombard streets to announce findings of PennPIRG’s “Trouble in Toyland” report in which laboratory and other testing pinpointed nine toys that present a risk of toxic chemicals or choking hazards. A 2008 bill gave the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more power to investigate toy safety, but she warned parents to remain vigilant about the toys they let their children play with.

“There is still danger in the toy box,” DeSmedt said. “There is still danger in the toy box.”

The report found a baby doll containing plastic-softening agents at concentrations well over banned levels, a toy train with wooden pegs well smaller than the mandated risk-of-choking size — because of it, a Washington, D.C., mother had to perform the Heimlich maneuver to save her child’s life — and lead and other metals that had been restricted.

The report “will help consumers identify and avoid the worst threats and keep their children safe this year,” said DeSmedt, noting a list of dangerous toys at www.toysafety.mobi.


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