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NYPIRG issues 'dangerous & toxic’ toy list

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The New York Public Interest Research Group has issued its 30th annual dangerous and toxic toy survey just in time for the holiday shopping season. WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports the survey was revealed on the Buffalo State campus Tuesday by NYPRIG.

The annual report, titled 'Trouble in Toyland', warns of potentially hazardous toys.  NYPIRG issued the report at a news briefing Tuesday morning on the SUNY Buffalo State Campus.  NYPIRG Project Coordinator Wesley Thomas said it is important to be the watchdog for parents and families who are buying toys for young consumers.  

"The average, uninformed shopper don't necessarily know about these hazards. That's why NYPIRG feels it's our job to bring it to attention. Consumer protection is one of the things we focus on," stated Thomas.

NYPIRG's annual toy list has led to 150-toy recalls in the past 30-years. Some of this year's dangerous toys can be found at area dollar stores and big chains like Target.    

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
NYPIRG announces dangerous toys at Buffalo State campus. Madisson Bryan, a Buffalo State student, works as a project leader with NYPIRG. Bryan discussed concerns with magnet toys.

The latest report indicates toxic chemicals like chromium found on the Minions Pencil Case and Slinky Junior.  

Toys that could cause a choking risk for children are also outlined in the report. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo State student Stephanie Hanson shows how a toilet paper roll can be used to measure small toys.

Stephanie Hanson is a Buffalo State student working with NYPRIG.  Hanson displayed  toilet paper roll to demonstrate how to measure a toy for potential choking risk.

"So the toilet paper roll being a little bit wider can test for the near small parts ensuring that the child is actually safe from choking if they should actually put something in their mouth," explained Hanson.  

NYPIRG's report also explains how powerful toy magnets could cause serious injury if swallowed. Madisson Bryan, a Buffalo State student, works as a project leader with NYPIRG. Bryan discussed concerns with magnet toys. 

"Between 2009 and 2013, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commissioner) estimates that high power magnets caused approximately 2,900 emergency room treated injuries," said Bryan.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
NYPIRG lists this toy car as too loud for children.

Loud toys are also linked to possible hearing loss.  One in seven children between the ages of six and 17 have signs of hearing loss, that could be attributed to loud toys.

The survey discovered five toys that are 'extremely loud', including the vtech SmartWheels Car. 

"We especially caution about toy cell phones," noted Bryan.

The Toy Industry Association has responded to the toy report. It calls it a 'historically flawed report' and issued the following statement in response to the Trouble in Toyland survey: 

The holiday season is always a magical time for families as they delight in new gifts and strengthen bonds through play. Unfortunately, certain groups, like U.S. PIRG, leverage this time of year to advance their own agendas and garner headlines with their lists of alleged “unsafe toys.” When examined and reviewed, year after year these lists have repeatedly shown to be full of false claims and needlessly frighten parents and caregivers. 

What families can count on is that toys sold on U.S. toy shelves are safe. Safety is the toy industry’s top priority every day of the year. By law, all toys sold in the United States, no matter where in the world they are made, must first meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards and be certified as compliant by an independent, federally approved testing lab. These U.S. safety requirements are among the strictest in the world and are in place to ensure the safety of children as they revel in the joy and benefits of play. 

For more information on toy safety and ways to ensure safe play, families can visit the PlaySafe.org website for more information.