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Toy Safety and Recalls

Lab Tests Find Lead, Other Toxins in Pet Toys Sold at Wal-Mart

Vets say there's no risk to pets but others aren't so sure

Two veterinarians, however, said the levels of toxic metals found in the toys do not pose a health risk to dogs or cats. Whether the toys are a hazard to children and adults who handle them isn't clear.

ConsumerAffairs.com hired ExperTox Analytical Laboratory in Texas to test four imported toys for pets -- two for dogs and two for cats -- for heavy metals and other toxins.

One of the dog toys -- a latex one that looks like a green monster -- tested positive for what the la...

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    Finding Safe Toys to Give Your Pet

    Lack of federal oversight leaves consumers on their own

    "To reassure pet owners, we encourage manufacturers to test pet products for lead and other contaminants and post findings on their corporate Web sites," s...

    Toy safety for the holidays -- and all days

    Here are some tips for keeping your children safe

    The holiday season can be stressful enough, so you don't need worrying about the toys you buy for your kids to add to it.

    Along those lines, there is some good news. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports there's been a decline in toy recalls in the past few years, so that should take some of the pressure off parents.

    In 2015, CPSC issued 25 toy recalls, compared with 172 in 2008. But, even with that decline, too many toys that are unsafe continue to show up at U.S. ports. Thankfully, they never get into kids' hands.

    The agency also receives reports of kids who have suffered toy-related injuries -- and even deaths. A report released for calendar year 2014 shows an estimated 183,800 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths. For toy-related deaths and injuries, it is important to note that although a toy was associated with many of the incidents, the toy was not necessarily the cause of the death or injury.

    What to do

    The CPSC offers the following tips on what you can do to help keep your little ones safe:

    • Choose age appropriate toys by reading the age label on the toy. For children younger than three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. In particular avoid deflated or broken balloons, small parts, or small balls.
    • Scooters and other riding toys, such as skateboards and in-line skates, go fast -- and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding a scooter on a street or roadway with other motor vehicles.
    • Magnets -- Children's magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that prevents magnets from being swallowed. High-powered magnet sets, which are covered by a mandatory standard, also have small magnets that are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
    The holiday season can be stressful enough, so you don't need worrying about the toys you buy for your kids to add to it.Along those lines, there is so...

    Fewer Toys Contain Lead but Toxins Still Common

    Existing toxic-substance laws 'obsolete,' environmental group warns


    The number of childrens toys tainted with high levels of lead continues to decrease, according to research released today by The Ecology Center, a Michigan environmental organization.

    Thats the good news in Toyland.

    The bad news is one in three children's toys tested by the Ecology Center contained lead, arsenic, and other worrisome chemicals. That's one of the key findings in the organization's "2009 Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys."

    But a spokesman for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a non-profit organization affiliated with George Mason University in Virginia, said the threat of toxins in toys may not be as dire as the Ecology Center's reports indicate.

    "Chemicals in toys may sound alarming, but there's little evidence that they are actually poisoning children. There would have to be some way that the chemicals entered the bloodstream -- something this report doesn't investigate," said Trevor Butterworth. "Simple play is where toys do their most damage: a boy under the age of four has a one in 359 chance of sustaining a non-fatal injury from a toy, while a girl has a 1 in 898 chance."

    Over the past three years, the Ecology Center has tested more than 4,000 childrens products for hazardous chemicals and released its annual guide just in time for the busy holiday shopping season. This year, the non-profit organization analyzed nearly 700 toys and children's products, including shoes, belts, wallets, handbags, and backpacks.

    Those test results -- now posted on the centers HealthyStuff.org Web site -- revealed:

    • The number of childrens products with lead levels higher than the current federal standard of 300 parts per million (ppm) has decreased by 67 percent since 2007. That drop corresponds with a 78 percent reduction in lead-related toy recalls issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS), the center said;

    • 32 percent of all the toys tested this year contained one or more dangerous chemicals, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. Thats one in three toys tainted with harmful toxins. Tests revealed cadmium -- a carcinogen linked to lung and prostrate cancer -- in levels greater than 100 ppm in 3.3 % (22 of 669) of all the products tested. Arsenic was found at levels greater than 100 ppm in 1.3 percent -- or nine -- of the products tested;

    • 42 percent of the childrens products tested contained polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which the center calls a worst in class plastic because it can contain dangerous additives. Those additives include lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals;

    • 18 percent (116) of the products tested contained detectable levels of lead, a chemical linked to developmental and learning disabilities Three percent (17) had lead levels higher than 300 ppm. Seven percent (44) had lead levels of more than 40 ppm, which is the maximum amount the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended in 2007 for childrens products;

    • More than half of the 100 plastic handbags tested had lead levels higher than 1000 ppm;

    • Two-thirds of the products tested did not contain lead, cadmium, arsenic, or mercury. Many of those products were made in China. Fifty-eight percent of the childrens products tested were not made with PVC. Researchers say that proves its possible for companies to make safe, chemical-free toys.

    The centers top researcher says this years findings show manufacturers are listening -- and starting to respond -- to consumers concerns about the safety of childrens toys.

    Big impact

    The most interesting finding this year is that consumer vigilance on the issue of lead in toys -- combined with increased regulatory consumer protection -- is having a big impact in terms of lead in toys, the centers Jeff Gearhart told ConsumerAffairs.com. People should feel more comfortable this year in terms of lead in consumer products. Theres a lot less of it out there.

    We often focus on the negative, but its important that when we see change occurring to acknowledge it, he added. Its happening in this case because theres been a lot of focus on this issue and a push to make manufacturers do testing and clean up their products.

    To illustrate his point, Gearhart cited the centers recent tests on the Leapster LeapFrog carrying case.

    We tested that product last year and it contained lead, he said. We retested it this year and its (basically) lead-free (23 ppm). The Leapster folks were adamant last year that the product did not contain lead. But the whole time they were adamant, they were finding out that it did have lead. And then they went back and reformulated it.

    Thats the overall trend were seeing, he added. The number of products with high levels of lead is down by two-thirds.

    But too many childrens products on store shelves still contain dangerous chemicals, Gearhart said.

    Whats most worrisome overall is that were still finding one in three toys out there that have detectable levels of one or more chemicals we test for, he told us. While the number with lead is declining, were still finding other chemicals -- cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and other metals -- in these products. And there are still a lot of products that contain PVC.

    'Naughty' list

    Here are some of the childrens products that made the centers naughty list because they contained high levels of lead, arsenic, bromine and other worrisome chemicals:

    The Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit Tests revealed the kits outer fabric contained 1,865 ppm of lead,163,107 ppm of chlorine, and 3,363 ppm of bromine. The inner line contained high levels of those chemicals, too. Researchers say chlorine in a product indicates the use of PVC. Bromine is part of a family of fire-retardant chemicals called brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Studies have found that exposure to those chemicals can permanently affect brain development in a fetus;

    Dora the Explorer Activity Tote Tests revealed the tote contained high levels of chlorine, including 550,000 ppm in the yellow bottom, 480,577 in Doras purple dress, and 5,680 ppm in the shiny orange vinyl part of the bag. That part of the bag also contained 5,680 ppm of lead;

    High School Musical Argyle Belt Tests revealed this accessory contained 2,871 ppm of lead, 550,000 ppm of chlorine, and some parts contained 379 ppm of arsenic. Researchers say arsenic is an element that can be present in both organic and inorganic compounds. Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen, linked to lung, skin, and bladder cancer;

    Marvel Hot Rod Tests revealed the top of this Marvel Heroes toy car contained 1,940 ppm of lead and 380 ppm of bromine.

    'Nice' list

    Dozens of childrens toys and other products, however, made the centers nice list because they did not contain any detectable chemicals of concern. Some of those chemical-free products include:

    Barbies Life vest;

    Gator Golf by Playskool Games;

    Gabriella doll - High School Musical 3 by Disney;

    Poptunes Big Rocker Guitar by Little Tikes;

    Mega Bloks - 80pc blocks -- by Mega;

    PEZ Candy and Dispenser by Pez Candy, Inc.;

    The Oball Football by Rhinotoys;

    Silly Putty -- The original, by Silly Putty;

    Sock Monkey - Lavender/Crew Belly by Maggie's Organics/Clean Clothes;

    Talking Thomas, by Thomas and Friends;

    Changes needed

    While Gearhart sees some signs of improvements in this years test results, he says the country needs to systematically change the way it regulates chemicals in consumer goods.

    If we approach this issue on a chemical-by-chemical basis, it will take forever to get the hazardous chemicals out of toys and other consumer products, he told us. Were pushing for a broader chemical reform.

    Recent consumer protections for lead and phthalates in products were a good first step, he added. But we have a long way to go in terms of protecting our children from thousands of other unregulated chemicals in toys and products throughout our economy.

    Gearhart said the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) -- an obsolete law passed in 1976 to regulate chemicals -- needs to be immediately overhauled. Under that law, the EPA only requires testing on about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals now on the market.

    All the stakeholders in this, including manufacturers, have acknowledged that the way we regulate these chemicals is not protecting children or the public, or helping businesses, Gearhart said. If you have to come into this on the tail end -- and force businesses to spend thousands of dollars to test their products and prove theyre safe -- at that point, you have a failure in the system.

    Its more effective to show the products are safe going in, he added. And we, (as consumers) need assurances that what is getting into our products is safe.

    The U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee today was scheduled to hear testimony from three federal agencies about reforming the TSCA. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) are also expected to introduce a new bill to reform the outdated law.

    No. 1 Danger

    STATS' Butterworth said there's a bigger danger than trace toxins in toys: the medicine cabinet.

    "Young children instinctively put things in their mouth and pills turn out to be a very tempting threat. The Centers for Disease Control found that children were twice as likely to poison themselves with prescription or over the counter medications than other items in the home -- and 75 percent of an estimated 70,000 poisonings each year occurred in children under the age of five," Butterworth said.

    Most documented toy injuries come not from poisoning but from simple accidents, he said: "Tripping over a toy and falling, falling on a toy, falling with a toy in mouth, dropping a toy on a foot; swallowing a toy or part of toy, sticking a toy up a nostril and it getting stuck, poking one's self in the eye with toy, sticking a toy in one's ear; being hit by toy thrown by another child, or hitting one's self with a toy. Fatal injuries are, fortunately, very rare."

    Meanwhile, consumers looking for chemical-free childrens products this holiday season can search the www.healthystuff.org HealthyStuff.org's Web site by product name, manufacturer, or retailer. The Web site has all the products tested this year categorized according to the levels of toxins found. A Spanish version is also available.

    Gearhart said his organization will continue to monitor the chemicals in childrens toys and other consumer products, including pet toys and plastic handbags.

    For our next project, we plan to screen and evaluate mattresses from those used in cribs to ones by adults, he said. We will release those findings next year.



    The number of childrens toys tainted with high levels of lead continues to decrease, according to research released by The Ecology Center, a Michigan envir...

    Industry Responds to Reports of Lead in Wal-Mart Pet Toys

    'Poison is poison,' toxic metals specialist warnsWal-Mart calls out its spin doctors

    Copyright © 2007 ConsumerAffairs.com Inc. All Rights Reserved
    Companies that make and import dog and cat toys are now triple-checking their products to be sure theyre tested for lead and other toxins.

    That action -- according to the president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) -- is the result of a ConsumerAffairs.com story that revealed two Chinese-made pet toys sold at Wal-Mart stores contained what a forensic toxicologist said were elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium.

    Everyone (in this industry) is well aware of your story, AAPMAs President Bob Vetere said. His non-profit association represents more than 900 pet product manufacturers, importers, and livestock suppliers worldwide.

    And the reaction from virtually everyone Ive talked to about the story is: Wait a minute. We didnt know about this. Hello, whats going on? And theyve called their vendors and suppliers to be sure theyre testing the products.

    Its good that you got this out there so they (our members) could know, and they are pushing very hard on their vendors now to get those test results. If nothing else, everyone is now aware of this in the industry.

    ConsumerAffairs.com hired ExperTox Analytical Laboratory in Texas to test four Chinese-made toys -- two for dogs and two for cats -- for heavy metals and other toxins. We purchased the four pet toys earlier this month at a Wal-Mart store in Kansas City, Missouri. All the toys had a tag attached that read Marketed by Wal-Mart stores and Made in China.

    We chose the toys at random at Wal-Mart. Two of them -- a latex toy for dogs that looks like a green monster and a cloth catnip one -- revealed what the labs forensic toxicologist called elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium.

    Two veterinarians told ConsumerAffairs.com the levels of heavy metals found in the toys do not, in their opinion, pose a threat to dogs or cats. Whether they are a hazard to children and adults who handle the chew toys is unclear.

    "Poison is poison"

    But a physician who specializes in the removal of metals from humans told us that its always worrisome if a toxin -- like lead -- gets into the body.

    Poison is poison, said Dr. Rashid Buttar, head of the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in Huntersville, North Carolina. Im a dog lover and, no, I dont want my dog to be chewing on dog toy that has lead.

    Dr. Buttar described the levels of lead that ExperTox found in the green monster toy 907.4 micrograms per kilogram -- as bad.

    Its absolutely worrisome to me if that green monster toy gets in a toddlers mouth, he said.

    But he also pointed out that those levels are common: Kids are being exposed to lead left and rightlead is all over the place.

    That does not lessen the risk, however. Since lead builds up in the body, it is the total accumulation over time that is harmful. Thus, even small amounts contribute to potentially devastating health effects in children who, like dogs and cats, are smaller than adult humans and thus more susceptible to small amounts of a toxic substance.

    "Rock solid"

    ExperTox stands by its findings and calls them rock solid.

    The labs tests on the green monster toy revealed it contained 907.4 micrograms per kilogram of lead.

    Thats almost one part per million, said forensic toxicologist Dr. Ernest Lykissa, Ph.D., director of ExperToxs lab. With that kind of concentration, if a dog is chewing on it or licking it, hes getting a good source of lead.

    The green monster toy also had what Lykissa considered elevated levels of the cancer-producing agent chromium -- 334.9 micrograms per kilogram.

    With that kind of chromium in there you have what can be an extremely toxic toy if they (animals) put it in their mouths. And dogs put things in their mouths. If a dog puts this in his mouth, he runs a big chance of getting some type of metal toxicity that may shorten his life.

    The lab also found other toxic metals in the green monster toy.

    Theres cadmium, arsenic, and mercury in there, Lykissa said. This is not a clean toy. This is toxic. Bank on it. ExperToxs tests on the catnip toys detected worrisome levels of cadmium 236 micrograms per kilogram.

    Thats a big number, Lykissa said. Its a good dose of cadmium.

    The forensic toxicologist said Wal-Mart should pull these pet toys off the market because of the levels of heavy metals.

    Or put a warning label on them that says if you put this (toy) in your mouth you will get poisoned, Lykissa said. There is nothing good about the agents (in these toys) that Im reporting to you.

    Wal-Mart calls the spinmasters

    Instead of following the lead of other toy industry players by redoubling its inspections, Wal-Mart called out its publicists and spin doctors from Edelman, which calls itself the "world's leading independent global PR firm," to try to discredit Lykissa and to try to intimidate ConsumerAffairs.com. Wal-Mart, through its Edelman mouthpieces, also backed off an earlier pledge to re-inspect the toys.

    While Wal-Mart claims to dispute ExperToxs findings, companies that manufacture pet toys are making sure their products are tested and safe for dogs and cats.

    Im at the pet show at Las Vegas and the people Ive talked to at this show are concerned (by the labs findings), Vetere said. They want to make sure theyre not part of the problem and, are not affected by this problem. They do not want to do anything foolish to jeopardize the safety of pets.

    Theres certainly cause for everybody to pay attention to this report, he added. Some people might say oh my goodness, how can this happen? And another group might say the results are bogus. But as with any crisis, everybodys got to take a deep breath, check the information, and check their products. And thats whats happening now.

    Vetere said most companies that make pet toys routinely test their products. Certainly every large company is testing for toxins -- not just lead -- but all sorts of toxins.

    PetSmart and the KONG Company told us earlier this week that they routinely test their dog and cat toys for lead and other toxins.

    But what are the federal guidelines on acceptable levels of those materials in pet toys? And who makes sure the industry follows those benchmarks?

    Industry seeks standards

    While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tests all toys that come in contact with humans, theres not a similar organization that test products specifically intended for animals, and theres not a specific organization that controls pet toys, Vetere said. But any toys that is intended to come into contact with an animal is just as likely to come into contact with a child.

    The makers of pet toys are smart enough to follow those same standards set for kids toys and apply them to pet toysbecause again, in most cases, pet toys are played with by children.

    The CPSC is the obvious -- most common sense -- federal agency to oversee pet products, Vetere said.

    And his members would welcome guidance from the commission on this issue.

    Theyre looking for a benchmark that everyone can follow, he said. Maybe what we need is to have everyone sit down at a table and talk about what makes sense. Its not going to be easy to find an answer, but its a process that has to start. The CPSC is certainly somebody that needs to be sitting at that table, and wed (APPMA) certainly willing to work with them and help them on this issue.

    The CPSC, however, remains on the sideline on this issue. A spokesman, in the agency's usual terse and legalistic style, told us the agency only concerns itself with products that harm humans. He did not address the potential danger to children and adults who might be exposed to the pet toys.

    "Pet industry concerned"

    During our interview with Vetere, he said he shares pet owners' concerns about ExperToxs findings.

    And my message to pet owners is that the pet industry is very concerned when something like this happens. Our members are as on top of this as they can be and they are on top of making sure their products are safe.

    Most people in the pet industry are in it because they love pets and they are as concerned as any pet owner out there.

    Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has gone on the defensive and attacked ExperToxs findings. Melissa OBrien, who identified herself as representing Wal-Mart's corporate communications department, said the lab severely misinterpreted the findings and demanded ConsumerAffairs.com retract the story. Other news organizations said O'Brien told them she worked for Edelman.

    After reviewing these test results provided to us today on the pet products in your story . . . the results of these tests actually prove the products are VERY safe, OBrien told us in an e-mail. If these measurements are in fact the results, as you have reported, they have been severely misinterpreted by the director of ExperToxs lab, if he is reporting these levels to be high or dangerous.

    To the contrary by this lab's own report, these levels are considered very low and actually much lower than what is acceptable by regulatory bodies in the U.S. and Europe for products, including childrens toys, she said.

    OBrien referred to whats called the ASTM F-963 or the Standard Consumer Safety Specification on Toy Safety. She said that has a limit of 90 parts per million for accessible lead in toys.

    She also said the CPSC has a limit of 600 parts per million for the total lead in surface coating. In fact, the CPSC has no standard for pet toys and has not determined what levels of toxins are safe for animals, its spokesman told us.

    By comparison, the highest concentration of lead found in any of the ExperTox tests is a very low 907.4 parts per million -- nearly 100 times less than the ASTM limit for toys and more than 600 times less than the CPSC limit for surface coatings, she said.

    Wal-Mart, she said, uses independent labs that specialize in consumer product testing and data analysis to avoid what she called such misinterpretations. She did not name any of those labs, and did not supply the names of any scientists who could refute the Expertox findings.

    The conclusions drawn in this article appear to have been based on incorrect interpretations of the data, and based on the opinions of a person (who is) not an expert in consumer product testing, said O'Brien, who did not indicate that she had any scientific credentials.

    O'Brien also demanded that ConsumerAffairs.com remove the story for its Web site and threatened legal action if we did not comply.

    "Ms. O'Brien should go back to school and learn how to be a responsible and effective public affairs executive," said James R. Hood, ConsumerAffairs.com president and editor in chief. "Threatening the press with legal action is not a very good way to present your company's point of view.

    "If Wal-Mart wants to sue us, we will meet them in any court in the land and we look forward to what we will find in the discovery process," Hood said. "Until then, they should act like responsible corporate citizens instead of trying to silence consumer outlets with playground-bully tactics."

    Hood said ConsumerAffairs.com will continue to gather evidence -- and report stories -- about the harm inflicted on pets, children, and adults by toxic imports.

    "America's largest retailer owes more to its customers than trying to goon-squad its critics into silence, he said. "It is being ill-served by its very expensive public relations firm. It should speak to the press directly."

    Response to slurs

    Despite Wal-Mart's slurs about his credentials, Dr. Lykissa is an expert at consumer product testing, according to ExperTox.

    He has done so much testing on the Dow breast implants and thats a product, said Donna Coneley, ExperToxs lab manager. Wal-Mart can do its own research and see how long hes been involved in that testing. It goes back to the first claims on silicone breast implant poisoning.

    We also do such a wide variety of testing in this lab because we have the latest technology for doing heavy metal analysis, she said, referring to the labs ICP-MS -- or Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

    Lykissa told us thats the machine his lab used to test our pet toys for heavy metals.

    These (toxic) materials came off the toys freely, like with the lick of the tongue from a dog or cat, he told us. They were readily liberated from these toys. We didnt take a sledge hammer and pound on them. I just did what a dog or cat would do by licking it. Thats why this is so serious.

    Toxicologists at the lab cut off a small piece from each of the toys, weighed the samples, and put them in acidic water.

    We left the samples for a while and then heated them up to body temperature, Lykissa said. Then we put them in (the ICP-MS) and that machine told us this is lead and this is chromium ...

    We didnt dissolve the toys, he added. These materials were leeching off the toys. Whatever leeched off the toys is what Im reporting to you. The material came right off. Somebodys saliva or the sweat in their hands would freely pick up these materials. And thats absorbing it. If you ate the materials, like a dog might, it would be worse.

    But pet toys arent the only consumer products ExperTox has tested.

    We have so many companies all over the world that come to us for tests, Coneley said. Weve tested Mexican-made medication to see if they have the same amount of medicine as those made in America. Weve also tested silicone breast implants, pet foods and treats, and we tested toys for kids a couple of years ago.

    Consumers, she said, can trust ExperToxs findings: We stand by our results. We can guarantee theyre rock solid.

    ExperTox, however, doesnt look at ASTM or CPSC limits during its testing procedures, Coneley said.

    We simply pour out our results as we receive them. We dont look at the limits on products. If Wal-Mart says the limits are less, than I believe them.

    Let consumers decide

    But ExperToxs test results, Coneley said, give consumers the tools to make more informed decisions.

    Thats what this is all about, giving people more information that I feel will help them make a better choice. If a vet says he think our results are extremely low numbers than people can take that information and balance it against what Dr. Lykissa said to make a better decision.

    What about Wal-Marts argument that the CPSC limits for lead in surface coatings are 600 times less than the amount (of lead) detected in the green monster toy?

    Ive never seen a dog lick lead paint, Coneley said. If someone wants to give a dog a toy with those levels (of lead) thats their choice and Im not going to argue with that.

    But in our opinion, that level of lead (907.4 micrograms per kilogram) is considered elevated and there are other choices (for pet owners). My choice would be to go with a more natural treat. I would not go with one that had elevated levels of chromium, lead, or cadmium. What youre doing (with this testing) gives consumers more choices on what to purchase for their animals.

    Coneley said Wal-Marts harsh criticism of the labs findings -- and its interpretations -- arent surprising.

    Weve had that argument before from major companies that weve misinterpreted the results, she said. But weve never been found liable of that. We get this defensiveness every time there is a question about a sample we test. And the larger the company, the more aggressive and defensive they are. This is consistent with what Ive seen. Its textbook for a large corporation.

    But the labs test results -- and the science behind them -- dont lie, Coneley said.

    These are actual, valid numbers. Whether or not theyre toxic to a dog (or cat) is left to interpretation. All we can do is give our opinion and cooperate with the Food and Drug Administration or other governmental agency, which weve done many times.

    As we reported, Dr. Lykissa said the heavy metals his lab found in the pet toys -- lead, chromium, and cadmium -- are potentially toxic.

    Lead, he said, goes to the brain and causes learning disorders in children. Its also implicated in high instances of heart attacks. It is a very heavy metal.

    Chromium, he said, is a cancer-producing agent. It can cause cancer in the bladder and kidneys, and if its inhaled, cause cancer in the lungs. Theres nothing good about chromium.

    And cadmium is a horrible thing to get into the body. It creates havoc in the joints, kidneys, and lungs, he added. That catnip toy has 236 (micrograms per kilograms) of cadmium. Thats something that somebody out there ought to be worried about. In my business, if youre going to sit there and let dogs and cats play with a toy that has heavy metals freely released from it -- and put it in their mouths it becomes a concern.

    Pet owners respond

    Pet owners whove contacted us say theyre outraged by Expertoxs findings. One pet owner called on consumers to stop buying chew toys made in China. And another wants the federal government to take action.

    After reading the horrifying article about dog toys being sold at Wal-Mart, I am very ticked off -- mainly at our government, wrote Bill Schroedle of Lockport, Illinois. The government should have control of what is being imported from China and any other country. All Wal-Mart sees is money.

    I will never buy anything that is made in China or anywhere else but Made In The USA. Who knows what else is out there that is dangerous.

    Kathy K. of Northville, Michigan, agrees that consumers should refuse to buy pet toys made in China.

    The recent story that came out in ConsumerAffairs.com about pet toys from China purchased at Wal-Mart containing lead and other toxins is the 'tip of the iceberg', she said. It is likely that most pet toys from China contain things that are bad for our pets -- just as so many things from China are bad for humans. We have decided not to purchase any more pet toys made in China. We think everyone should pay more attention to this and refuse to purchase any pet toys that are made in China.

    Kathy said her familys dog became sick after playing with a chew toy made in China.

    Our Boston Terrier kept throwing up and we finally narrowed it down to the toy squirrel we had purchased for her. After looking at the label and noting it was Made in China we then looked at all the other pet toys we've purchased. Every single one said Made in China.

    Once we took the toy squirrel away from her toy box, she stopped throwing up, Kathy added. We tried giving it back to her and she started throwing up again . . . pet toys from China are harming and perhaps killing our pets.



    Industry Responds to Reports of Lead in Wal-Mart Pet Toys...

    Miniland Educational recalls Moogy plush toys

    The red button on the toy’s left pocket can detach

    Miniland Educational Corp., of Miami, Fla., is recalling about 2,100 Moogy plush toys in the U.S. and Canada.

     

    The red button on the toy’s left pocket can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

     

    This recall involves Moogy plush fastening toys for toddlers between 12 and 36 months of age. The toy has zippers, buttons, buckles and laces. The Moogy toy has a blue and green face, red ears, a blue jacket with a red zipper, pink/red striped pants and pink and orange shoes with polka dots.

     

    Moogy measures about 18 ½ inches tall. “Miniland,” item number R.96295 and lot number 0115 1402813 085 are printed on a white tag sewn into the toy’s pants.

     

    The toys, manufactured in India, were sold at specialty toy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Gilt.com, HighlightsforChildren.com, ToysRUs.com and Zulily.com from July 2015, through February 2016, for about $33.

     

    What to do

     

    Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and contact Miniland Educational for instructions on cutting off the button to remove the hazard in order to receive a full refund.

     

    Consumers may contact Miniland Educational toll-free at 866-201-9069 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.minilandeducationalusa.com and click on “Products,” then on “Safety Information” in the dropdown menu for more information.

     

    Miniland Educational Corp., of Miami, Fla., is recalling about 2,100 Moogy plush toys in the U.S. and Canada. The red button on the toy’s left pock...

    The Land of Nod recalls octopus rattles

    The fabric discs on the tentacles of the octopus rattles can detach

    The Land of Nod of Morton Grove, Ill., is recalling about 550 Octo-rattles.

     

    The fabric discs on the tentacles of the octopus rattles can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

     

    The firm has received five reports of the rattle’s fabric discs detaching. No injuries have been reported.

     

    This recall involves The Land of Nod’s Octo-rattles, sold individually or as part of a gift bag set. The knit fabric rattles are yellow and shaped like an octopus with multi-colored felt discs sewn into the tentacles. The rattles measure about 9 inches tall, 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep and can attach to strollers or activity gyms.

     

    “The Land of Nod,” “Morton Grove, IL 60053,” “951-3072461,” “Made in India” and SKU number 502882 are printed on a label attached to the underside of the rattle.

     

    The rattles, manufactured in India, were sold exclusively at The Land of Nod stores nationwide and online from September 2015, through April 2016, for about $30 for the individual rattle and for $150 as part of a gift bag set.

     

    What to do

     

    Consumers should immediately take the recalled rattles away from children and contact The Land of Nod to receive a full refund.

     

    Consumers may contact The Land of Nod at 800-933-9904 from 8:30 a. m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.landofnod.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.

     

    The Land of Nod of Morton Grove, Ill., is recalling about 550 Octo-rattles. The fabric discs on the tentacles of the octopus rattles can detach, po...

    Manhattan Toy recalls table top toys Due to Choking Hazard

    The round plastic beads can break, posing a choking hazard

    The Manhattan Toy Company, of Minneapolis is recalling about 2,500 Busy Loops table top toys in the U.S. and Canada.

     

    The round plastic beads can break, posing a choking hazard.

     

    The firm has received two reports of beads breaking off the toy. No injuries have been reported.

     

    Busy Loops table top toys have orange, green, blue and purple plastic tubing with plastic beads threaded on the tubing that can slide up and down. The tubes sit on a blue plastic base with an orange plastic suction cup.

     

    The toy is about 4.5” W x 4.5” L x 7” H. The model number 700470 and lot code FH are printed on the bottom of the blue base.

     

    The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at BuyBuy Baby and other toy stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com and Kohls.com from September 2015, through January 2016, for about $15.

     

    What to do

     

    Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toy and return it to the store where it was purchased or contact Manhattan Toy for a full refund.

     

    Consumers may Contact Manhattan Toy Company at 800-541-1345 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.manhattantoy.com and click on Recalls for more information.

     

    The Manhattan Toy Company, of Minneapolis is recalling about 2,500 Busy Loops table top toys in the U.S. and Canada. The round plastic beads can br...

    Horizon Hobby recalls helicopter kits, spindle sets

    The main rotor washer can fail, causing the helicopter blades to come off

    Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 600 radio-controlled helicopter kits and spindle sets.

    The main rotor washer can fail, causing the blades to come off the helicopter during use. This poses an injury hazard to the operator and bystanders.

    No incidents or injuries have been reported.

    This recall involves Blade 700 X Pro Series Kit, Pro Series Combo and the replacement spindle set. The kits and combos come with parts to assemble a radio-controlled helicopter.

    When assembled, the helicopter is about 53 inches long and 15.5 inches tall and weighs about 12 pounds. It has a blue, yellow, black and silver canopy with the 700 X logo on each side, two white skids, a black tail boom with the word Blade on each side, a tail rotor and a main rotor assembly with two blades. The rotor blades are black and gray with the word Revolution on each.

    The defective washer is flat and silver and about 1/2 inch in diameter. It is used to hold the two main rotor blade grips in place on the helicopter.

    The recalled Pro Series Kit is model number BLH5725 and includes the helicopter canopy and the mechanical parts necessary to build the helicopter without the main rotor blades or electronics.

    The recalled Pro Series Combo is model number BLH5725C and includes the helicopter canopy, the mechanical parts necessary to build the helicopter, the main rotor blades, a receiver, servos and motor.

    The recalled replacement spindle set is model number BLH5703 and includes two spindle shafts, two screws and four washers.

    Model numbers for the kit and combo are on the UPC label on one end of the product packaging. The model number for the spindle set is on the front of the packaging.

    The kits, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at independent hobby stores nationwide and online at horizonhobby.com from July 2013, through August 2013. The Pro Series Kit sold for between $800 and $1,250. The Pro Series Combo sold for between $1,350 and $2,320. The replacement spindle set sold for about $13.

    Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled radio-controlled helicopter and contact Horizon Hobby for replacement washers and instructions on how to install them.

    Consumers may contact Horizon Hobby, toll-free at (877) 504-0233 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. CT Sunday.

    Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 600 radio-controlled helicopter kits and spindle sets. The main rotor washer can fail, causing the bl...

    Hundreds of unsafe products stopped at the U.S. border

    Toys and children’s products made up the bulk of products stopped

    Efforts by federal investigators to keep unsafe products from abroad out of the country are paying off.

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says its people stopped nearly three million units of consumer products that violated U.S. safety rules from reaching consumers in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012. That's nearly three times the number of what are termed “violative units” stopped in the previous two quarters combined.

    More than 5,700 different imported consumer products were screened in the third quarter, with 420 of them identified as failing to comply with CPSCs safety rules.

    From October 2011 through June 2012, CPSC investigators and their U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) counterparts have prevented about four million units of violative and hazardous imported products from entering the U.S. and ending up on store shelves.

    Thousands of kids products kept out

    According to a joint release issued by CPSC and CBP, during the past four years, at least 2,400 different toys and children's products -- making up more than two million individual units -- have been stopped at the ports because of the presence of safety hazards or the failure to meet federal safety standards.

    “Strong standards and vigilant port surveillance have advanced consumer safety by reducing the number of items needing to be recalled from the marketplace,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

    Toys and children’s products continued to make up the bulk of products stopped by CPSC investigators and CBP officers in the third quarter. Products with levels of lead exceeding federal limits topped the group and were followed by those with phthalate levels in excess of federal limits. Toys and other articles with small parts that present a choking hazard for children younger than three years old rounded out the top three products stopped. A significant number of fireworks being shipped to the U.S. for Independence Day activities nationwide were fourth on the list of total products stopped in the third quarter.

    In the first two quarters of fiscal year 2012, CPSC and CBP screened about 6,600 imported products at ports of entry, identified about 560 different consumer products that were in violation of U.S. safety rules or found to be hazardous, and prevented more than one million units of violative or dangerous products from reaching consumers.

    CPSC has been screening products at ports since it began operating in 1973. The agency intensified its efforts in 2008 with the creation of an import surveillance division and again in 2011 with the creation of the Office of Import Surveillance.

    Efforts by federal investigators to keep unsafe products from abroad out of the country are paying off. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)...

    Hachette Book Group recalls children’s books

    A metal rod holding small beads on the cover of books can detach and release small parts

    Hachette Book Group New York, N.Y., is recalling about 70,000 children's books titled “Count my Kisses, 1, 2, 3” and “Red, Green, Blue, I Love You.”

    A metal rod holding small beads on the cover of books can detach and release small parts that present a choking hazard. A detached metal bar can expose a sharp edge posing a laceration hazard. No incidents or injuries have been reported.

    The board-shaped children’s books have cut out covers that serve as a handle and include an embedded bar in the handle with beads for children to play with. “Ages 3+” is printed on the back covers and the ISBN numbers are also on the back covers near the bar code. Two titles are included: Count my Kisses, 1, 2, 3, ISBN: 978-0-316-13354-8, has five colored cylindrical wooden beads with printed hearts on the rod; and,
    Red, Green, Blue, I Love You, ISBN: 978-0-316-13353-1, has five colored circular wooden beads on the metal rod.

    The books, manufactured in China, were sold at Barnes & Noble, online at Amazon.com and by other booksellers and retailers from June 2013, to August 2013, for about $8.

    Consumers should immediately take the recalled books away from children and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

    Consumers may contact Hachette Book Group at (888) 965-5802 from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

    Hachette Book Group New York, N.Y., is recalling about 70,000 children's books titled “Count my Kisses, 1, 2, 3” and “Red, Green, Blue, I Love You.” A meta...

    Dream On Me recalls play yards

    The play yard’s rails can collapse

    Dream On Me of South Plainfield, N.J., is recalling about 10,000 play yards.

    The play yard’s rails can collapse, presenting a strangulation hazard to young children.

    No incidents or injuries have been reported.

    The recall includes Dream On Me Incredible two-level deluxe adjustable height play yards with model number starting with 436A, 436B, 436G, 436O, 436P and 436R. The play yards, made with a steel, powder-coated frame base with rolling, hooded casters, have a fabric and mesh covering that comes in a variety of colors.

    The play yard includes a changing top, a toy bar with soft toys for entertainment, a side pocket for storage and a carrying case. “Dream On Me” is printed on the bottom left-hand side outside of the product. The model number is printed on a label attached to the play yard’s mattress. The play yard can be folded for storage.

    The play yards, manufactured in China were sold online at Amazon, Kohls, Toys R US, WalMart, Wayfair and other online retailers from March 2010, through January 2014, for about $60.

    Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled play yards and contact Dream On Me to receive a free repair kit.

    Consumers may contact Dream On Me toll-free at (877) 201-4317 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

    Dream On Me of South Plainfield, N.J., is recalling about 10,000 play yards. The play yard’s rails can collapse, presenting a strangulation hazard to youn...

    HobbyZone Super Cub S Radio-Controlled Aircraft recalled

    Power supply units and chargers sold with the model aircraft can overcharge the battery

    Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 6,800 HobbyZone Super Cub S Ready-To-Fly and Super Cub S Bind-N-Fly Power Supply and Charger.

    Power supply units and chargers sold with the model aircraft can overcharge the battery, posing a risk of fire and property damage.

    The firm has received 18 reports incidents involving the power supply units and chargers including reports of small fires, exploding batteries and property damage to the surrounding areas.

    This recall involves the power supply and charger included exclusively with the HobbyZone Super Cub S Ready-To-Fly aircraft, model number HBZ8100 and the HobbyZone Super Cub S Bind-N-Fly model number HBZ8180. Aircraft model numbers are located on the packaging.

    The power supply is 2 ½ inches by 1 ¾ inches by 1 ¼ inches and is black with a blue label that reads “HobbyZone” and model “HBZ1004.” The DC auxiliary charger is 5 inches by 2 ½ inches by 1 ¾ inches and is black with a blue label that reads, “HobbyZone” and model “HBZ1003.”

    The supply units and chargers, manufactured in China, were sold at at hobby stores nationwide and online at HorizonHobby.com from April 2014,through August 2014, for $170 for the Bind-N-Fly and $200 for the Ready-to-Fly.

    Consumers should stop using the power supply and chargers immediately and contact Horizon Hobby for a replacement AC charger.

    Consumers may contact Horizon Hobby toll-free at (877) 504-0233 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.  

    Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 6,800 HobbyZone Super Cub S Ready-To-Fly and Super Cub S Bind-N-Fly Power Supply and Charger. Power s...

    Wegmans recalls Moody Face Stress Balls

    The balls can break into pieces when squeezed

    Wegmans Food Markets is recalling about 7,000 Gift Gallery Moody Face Stress Balls.

    These rubber stress balls can break into pieces when squeezed, posing a choking hazard to young children.

    No incidents or injuries have been reported.

    The Gift Gallery Moody Face Stress Balls are solid rubber balls that you can squeeze in your hand. They were sold in five colors: blue, green, orange, red and yellow and have black eyes and mouth as a smiley face printed on the front with pink, orange or yellow yarn hair on top. The balls measure about 2.5 inches in diameter.

    The stress balls were packaged in a clear bag with a white square label that has the “Gift Gallery” logo, model number 205617 and UPC code 0-67103-30053-6.

    The balls, manufactured in China, were sold at Wegmans in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia during September 2014 for about $1.

    Consumers should immediately stop using these stress balls and return them to any Wegmans service desk for a full refund.

    Consumers may contact Wegmans consumer affairs toll-free at (855)-934-3663 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

    Wegmans Food Markets is recalling about 7,000 Gift Gallery Moody Face Stress Balls. These rubber stress balls can break into pieces when squeezed, posing ...