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VTech recalls Lights & Lullabies Travel mobiles

The clamp attaching the mobile to the crib rail can break

VTech Electronics North America of Arlington Heights, Ill., is recalling about 42,000 Lights & Lullabies Travel mobiles sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The clamp attaching the mobile to the crib rail can break causing the mobile to fall, posing an injury hazard to an infant in the crib.

The company has received six reports of the clamp cracking. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves VTech Lights & Lullabies Travel mobiles sold in blue and pink. The model numbers are 80-503000 (blue) and 80-503050 (pink). The pink mobile was sold exclusively at Amazon.com.

The mobile has a white and pink or white and blue plastic arm that clamps onto the side of a crib, three star attachments that hang from the top, and a music button that plays music, nature sounds and nursery rhymes.

The mobile measures 5 inches wide by 15.8 inches tall. The model numbers are printed on the battery compartment door.

The mobiles, manufactured in China, were sold at Kmart, Walmart and online at Amazon.com and zulily.com from February 2017, through November 2017, for about $25.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled mobiles and contact Vtech for a full refund or a replacement product.

Consumers may contact VTech at 800-521-2010 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, online at www.vtechkids.com and click on Support for more information or register online at https://www.vtechkids.com/support/support_form.  

VTech Electronics North America of Arlington Heights, Ill., is recalling about 42,000 Lights & Lullabies Travel mobiles sold in the U.S. and Canada.The...

VTech recalls infant rattles

The ears on the elephant rattles can break off, posing a choking hazard

VTech Electronics North America of Arlington Heights, Ill, is recalling about 280,000 Shake & Sing Elephant rattles.

The ears on the elephant rattles can break off, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received five reports of the ears breaking off of the rattle. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Vtech Shake and Sing Elephant rattle with model number 80-184800.

The rattle has a purple elephant with yellow and blue ears at one end and a black and white plastic teething ring at the other end. VTech is stamped on the elephant.

The rattle is about seven inches long and the number 1848 is printed on the back of the rattle adjacent to the battery door, and sings when a button is switched on.

The rattles, manufactured in China, were sold at Walmart, Kmart, Meijer, Mills Fleet Farm, Seventh Avenue, and online at Amazon.com and zulily.com from November 2015, through November 2017, for about $8.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled rattles and contact VTech for a full refund or credit for a replacement product.

Consumers may contact VTech at 800-521-2010 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.vtechkids.com and click on Support for more information or at https://www.vtechkids.com/support/support_form

VTech Electronics North America of Arlington Heights, Ill, is recalling about 280,000 Shake & Sing Elephant rattles.The ears on the elephant rattles ca...

PlanToys recalls baby gyms

Babies can strangle on the side rope crossbars

PlanToys of Union City, Calif., is recalling about 500 PlanToys baby gyms.

Babies can strangle on the baby gym's side rope crossbars.

No incidents or injuries are reported.

This recall involves PlanToys baby gyms that are set on the floor for babies. Babies lie under the gym to play with the hanging mobiles.

The wooden gyms are tan and have four legs with four different color balls in the middle that are connected by two ropes on the sides. There are two space-themed mobiles hanging from the top bar.

The manufacturing date code TH 080116 through TH 082916 is printed on the top corner joint connecting ball.

The gyms, manufactured in Thailand, were sold at specialty toy and baby product stores nationwide and online at Diapers.com, Target.com and other websites from September 2016, through May 2017, for about $50.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the baby gyms and contact PlanToys for a free replacement baby gym.

Consumers may contact PlanToys toll-free at 866-517-7526 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday, by email at Michael@plantoysinc.com or online at www.PlanToys.com and click on Safety at the bottom of the page for more information.

PlanToys of Union City, Calif., is recalling about 500 PlanToys baby gyms.Babies can strangle on the baby gym's side rope crossbars.No incidents or...

Possible choking hazard prompts recall of wind-up musical toys

The metal post and/or handle of the wind-up mechanism can detach

Kids Preferred of East Windsor, N.J., is recalling about 587,000 wind-up musical toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The metal post and/or handle of the wind-up mechanism can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received six reports of parts from the wind-up handle detaching from the toy. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Carter’s, Child of Mine, Guess How Much I Love You and Just One You brands of wind-up musical plush toys.

The toys have a metal wind-up mechanism that can be turned to play music, and were sold in variety of animal characters and colors.

The model number and batch code are printed on the smallest white sewn-in label behind the care label.

Brand

Product

Description

Model Number

Batch Codes

Just One You

Waggy Musical Kitty

a pink plush kitten with bright pink back feet and a bright pink heart on the backside and a silver colored metal windup post and handle

66834

105379 1015 66834, 105380 1115 66834, 105968 0516 66834, 105969 0616 66834, 105971 0816 66834 & 106598 1016 66834

Just One You

Waggy Musical Puppy

a gray and white plush puppy with light blue inner ears and back feet and a silver colored metal windup post and handle

66835

105379 1015 66835, 105380 1115 66835, 105968 0516 66835, 105969 0616 66835,&105971 0816 66835

Just One You

Waggy Musical Owl

a pink plush owl with a white face and pink belly and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the Owl’s backside

67058

106454 1016 67058, 106626 1116 67058 & 106627 1216 67058

Just One You

Waggy Musical Giraffe

a white and gray plush giraffe with a gray star appliqued on the giraffe’s left side and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the giraffe’s left side

67059

106454 1016 67059, 106626 1116 67059 & 106627 1216 67059

Child of Mine

Waggy Musical Elephant

a gray plush elephant with light pink inner ears and feet, a mint green heart on the backside and a silver colored metal windup post and handle

62279

105736 0316 62279 105813 0416 62279, 105817 0516 62279,  105818 0316 62279, 105819 0616 62279, 105820 0716 62279, 106364 0816 62279, 106462 0916 62279, 106463 1016 62279, 106554 1016 62279, 106624 1116 62279 & 106625 1216 62279 

Child of Mine

Waggy Musical Lamb

a white plush lamb with pink feet, a pink bow and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the lamb’s left side

62280

105736 0316 62280, 105813 0416 62280, 105817 0516 62280, 105818 0316 62280, 105819 0616 62280, 105820 0716 62280, 106364 0816 62280, 106462 0916 62280, 106463 1016 62280, 106554 1016 62280, 106624 1116 62280 & 106625 1216 62280

Child of Mine

Dino Waggy Musical

a green plush dinosaur with grey feet and black spots on his back and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the dino’s left side

62281

105736 0316 62281, 105813 0416 62281, 105817 0516 62281, 105819 0616 62281, 105820 0716 62281, 106364 0816 62281, 106412 0816 62281, 106413 0916 62281, 106462 0916 62281, 106554 1016 62281,  106621 1016 62281, 106624 1116 62281 & 106625 1216 62281

Child of Mine

Giraffe Waggy Musical

a yellow plush giraffe with blue and white striped feet and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the giraffe’s left side

62282

105736 0316 62282, 105813 0416 62282, 105817 0516 62282, 105819 0616 62282, 105820 0716 62282, 106365 0616 62282, 106462 0916 62282, 106463 1016 62282, 106554 1016 62282, 106624 1116 62282 & 106625 1216 62282

Carter’s

Lamb Waggy Musical

a white plush sitting lamb with silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the lamb’s left side

66940

105834 0416 66940, 105854 0416 66940, 105857 0516 66940, 105859 0716 66940 & 106557 1016 66940

Carter’s

Zebra Waggy Musical

a gray and white stuffed zebra with a pink snout and feet and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the zebra’s left side

61405

106051 0616 61405 & 105514 1016 61405

Carter’s

Giraffe Waggy Musical

a tan and beige plush giraffe with a satin ribbon tail accent and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the giraffe’s left side

61406

106051 0616 61406 & 106514 1016 61405

Carter’s

Puppy Waggy Musical

a blue plush puppy with gray feet and gray stars appliqued on the dog’s left side and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the dog’s left side

66806

106514 1016 66806 & 106829 1216 66806

Carter’s

Owl Waggy Musical

a pink plush owl with a white face and belly and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the owl’s backside

67015

105926 0516 67015

Carter’s

Unicorn Waggy Musical

a white plush unicorn with a pink mane and tail and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the unicorn’s backside

67115

106514 1016 67115 & 106829 0117 67115

Carter’s

Monkey Waggy Musical

a brown plush monkey with light tan feet and face and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the monkey’s backside

67116

106514 1016 67116 & 106829 0117 67116

Carter’s

Bunny Waggy Musical

a white plush bunny with pink inner ears and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the monkey’s backside

67117

106514 1016 67117 & 106829 0117 67117

Carter’s

Lamb Waggy Musical

a white plush standing lamb with gray feet, mint stars appliqued on the lamb’s left side and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the lamb’s left side

66804

105981 0416 66804, 106051 0616 66804 & 106514 1016 66804

Carter’s

Elephant Waggy Musical

a pink plush elephant with gray feet and gray stars appliqued on the elephant’s left side and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the elephant’s left side

66805

106514 1016 66805

Guess How Much I Love You

Big Nutbrown and Little Nutbrown Waggy Musical

a tan plush mama and baby bunny with embroidered lettering on the mama’s right foot and a silver colored metal wind up post and handle on the mama’s backside

96814

106643 0117 96814 

The wind-up musical toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Carter’s, Target, Walmart and other stores nationwide and online from January 2016, through August 2017, for between $11 and $20.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toys, take them away from young children and contact Kids Preferred for a free replacement toy.

Consumers may contact Kids Preferred toll-free at 888-968-9268 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at recall@kidspreferred.com or online at www.kidspreferred.com and click on “Product Safety” for more information.

Kids Preferred of East Windsor, N.J., is recalling about 587,000 wind-up musical toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.The metal post and/or handle of the w...

Toys “R” Us recalls infant wiggle balls

The ball’s knobs and back can detach, posing a choking hazard

Toys “R” Us of Wayne, N.J., is recalling about 30,000 Bruin infant wiggle ball toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The wiggle ball’s rubber knobs and plastic back can detach, posing a choking hazard to infants.

The firm has received six reports of rubber knobs breaking off, including four reports of pieces of the product found in children's mouths.

This recall involves Bruin Infant Wiggle Ball toys also called a giggle ball.

The blue ball has textured bumps for gripping and has orange, green and yellow rubber knobs around the ball. The ball wiggles, vibrates and plays three different musical tunes. It has an on/off switch and requires 3 AA batteries to operate.

The recalled wiggle balls have model number 5F6342E and Toys “R” Us printed on the product.

The wiggle balls, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us stores nationwide from June 2016, through January 2017, for about $13.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled balls, take them away from babies and return them to Babies “R” Us or Toys “R” Us for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Toys “R” Us at 800-869-7787 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.toysrus.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Toys “R” Us of Wayne, N.J., is recalling about 30,000 Bruin infant wiggle ball toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.The wiggle ball’s rubber knobs and plas...

DEMDACO recalls infant bib and bootie sets

Rattles sewn into the booties can detach, posing a choking hazard

DEMDACO of Leawood, Kan., is recalling about 1,500 infant bib and bootie sets.

Rattles sewn into the booties can detach, posing a choking hazard.

No incidents or injuries are reported.

This recall involves the following Story Time bib and bootie sets for infants, ages 3 through 6 months:

5004700491

 Dragon Bib & Bootie Set

5004700492

 Sea Creatures Bib & Bootie Set

5004700493

 Unicorn Bib & Bootie Set

5004700494

 Princess Bib & Bootie Set

5004700495

 Pirate Bib & Bootie Set

5004700496

 Rocketship Bib & Bootie Set

The multi-colored pastel sets were sold in six different child themes and have serial numbers ranging from 5004700491 to 5004700496. The serial number can be found on the side of the bib. The sets were sold under the brand name Nat & Jules.

Rattle attachments sewn into the booties coordinate with the theme.

The infant bib and bootie sets, manufactured in China, were sold at Christus Health Retail Systems, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, More Than Words, The Mole Hole of Peddlers Village & Eash Sales from June 2017, through August 2017, for about $25.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bib sets, take them away from children and return them to any store that sells DEMDACO’s products for a full refund.

Consumers may contact DEMDACO toll-free at 888-336-3226 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.demdaco.com and click on Recall Info for more information.

DEMDACO of Leawood, Kan., is recalling about 1,500 infant bib and bootie sets.Rattles sewn into the booties can detach, posing a choking hazard.No...

Studio Fun International recalls slap bracelets sold with children’s storybooks

The metal band can wear through the fabric covering of the bracelet

Studio Fun International of New York is recalling about 86,000 bracelets sold with storybooks sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The metal band can wear through the fabric covering of the bracelet, posing a laceration hazard.

There have been five reports of the metal bands wearing through the fabric covering of the bracelet resulting in cuts to hands or fingers.

The recalled “slap bracelets” were included with "DreamWorks Trolls: It's Hug Time!" children's storybooks. The bracelet consists of an inner, flexible metal band wrapped in a purple fabric covering with a pink fabric flower. The ISBN for the book is 978-0-7944-3840-1 and is printed on the back of the book.

The bracelets, manufactured in China, were sold at book and other retail stores nationwide, book fairs and clubs, and online at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Walmart.com and other online retailers from September 2016, through August 2017, for about $13.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled bracelets away from children and contact Studio Fun International for instructions on discarding the bracelet and to receive a free Trolls book.

Consumers may contact Studio Fun International at 800-489-3402 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.studiofun.com and click on “Product Recall” for more information.

Studio Fun International of New York is recalling about 86,000 bracelets sold with storybooks sold in the U.S. and Canada.The metal band can wear throu...

Hallmark recalls plush baby stacking toys

The toys have fabric hats and bows that can detach, posing a choking hazard

Hallmark Marketing Company of Kansas City, Mo., is recalling about 6,000 itty bittys baby plush stacking toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The toys have fabric hats and bows that can detach, posing a choking hazard.

This recall involves the itty bittys baby Disney-licensed plush animal stacking toys with rattling rings. The toys measure 10 inches by 7.5 inches by 9.5 inches, have a yellow base stand with a post and four rattling rings that slide on and off the post.

The red, blue, pink and purple rings have Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck and Daisy Duck characters attached to them. Three of the four Disney-licensed characters are wearing a small plush, fabric hat or bow.

The Hallmark logo and “itty bittys” are printed on a sewn-on tag attached to the toy’s base.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide and online at Hallmark.com and Amazon.com from June 2016, through July 2017, for about $30.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toys and take them away from children. Contact Hallmark to receive a prepaid shipping label for returning the recalled toy and for a $40 Hallmark Gold Crown gift card.

Consumers may contact Hallmark at 800-425-5627 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.hallmark.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information. 

Hallmark Marketing Company of Kansas City, Mo., is recalling about 6,000 itty bittys baby plush stacking toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.The toys have...

Manhattan Toy recalls activity toys

The product's colored plastic tubes can become brittle and break into small pieces

The Manhattan Toy Company of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 15,400 Winkel Colorburst activity toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The colored plastic tubes on the product can become brittle and break into small pieces, posing a choking hazard to infants.

The firm has received four reports of plastic tubes breaking. No injuries have been reported.

The Winkel Colorburst teething and activity toy has multi-color plastic tubing inserted into a plastic cube with rattle beads inside. The model number and lot code are printed on the center of the cube and on the hang-tag and product packaging near the UPC code.

Only activity balls with the following lot codes are included in this recall: 206880 DH; 206880 EH; 206880 HH; 206871 EH.

The activity toys, manufactured in China, were sold at toy stores nationwide and online at www.manhattantoy.com and other websites from May 2015, through September 2016, for about $15.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from infants and return it to the store where purchased or contact Manhattan Toy for a full refund.

Consumers may contact The Manhattan Toy Company at 800-541-1345 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (CT) Fridays, or online at www.manhattantoy.com and click on Recall Information at the bottom of the page for more information. 

The Manhattan Toy Company of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 15,400 Winkel Colorburst activity toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.The colored plas...

TOMY recalls Munching Max chipmunk toys

Parts inside the toy can break creating a sharp point

TOMY International of Oak Brook, Ill., is recalling about 14,000 Lamaze Munching Max chipmunk stuffed toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

Parts inside the toy can break creating a sharp point that can penetrate the surface of the toy, posing a laceration hazard.

The company has received one report of a minor laceration injury to a child’s hand.

This recall involves Lamaze Munching Max chipmunk stuffed toys with item number L27578.

“Tomy,” “Lamaze” and the item number are printed on a sewn-in fabric label near the tail of the toy. The stuffed toy is multi-colored with a white clip on the head of the chipmunk.

When the clip is pulled, the chipmunk toy vibrates and simulates eating the cloth nut attached to its arm.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Babies R Us, Toy R Us and other retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from May 2016, through July 2017, for about $16.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact TOMY International to receive a free replacement toy and a TOMY online store coupon.

Consumers may contact TOMY International toll-free at 866-725- 4407 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT) Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Friday, or online at http://recall.tomy.com

TOMY International of Oak Brook, Ill., is recalling about 14,000 Lamaze Munching Max chipmunk stuffed toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.Parts inside the...

Hobby Lobby recalls Easter and July 4th light-up spinner toys

The battery cover can detach and expose the small coin cell batteries

Hobby Lobby Stores of Oklahoma City, Okla., is recalling about 43,400 Easter and July 4th-themed light-up spinner toys.

The battery cover can detach and expose the small coin cell batteries, posing choking and ingestion hazards to young children.

The company has received one report of a 14-month-old child who ingested the battery. An x-ray was conducted and the battery passed through.

This recall involves children’s battery-powered, light-up spinner toys sold in two themes: Easter and July 4th.

The Easter-themed toys were sold in blue with a pink bunny on the dome and yellow with a yellow and orange chicken on the dome.

The July 4th spinners are red with white stars painted on the blue dome. “Hobby Lobby” and item number 9130033 or 9130082 is printed on the spinner handle.

The spinners are powered by three LR44 coin cell batteries.

The spinner toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores nationwide from February 2017, to April 2017, for about $5.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled spinners away from children and return them to the nearest Hobby Lobby or Mardel store. Consumers with a receipt will receive a full refund and consumers without a receipt will receive a store credit.

Consumers may contact Hobby Lobby Stores at 800-326-7931 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.hobbylobby.com and click on the Recall tab for more information.

Hobby Lobby Stores of Oklahoma City, Okla., is recalling about 43,400 Easter and July 4th-themed light-up spinner toys.The battery cover can detach and...

Dynacraft recalls battery operated ride-on toys

The acceleration pedal can stick, posing fall and crash hazards

Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 20,000 Surge and Tonka battery-operated ride-on toys.

The acceleration pedal can stick, posing fall and crash hazards.

The company has received 19 reports of pedals sticking, including seven reports of minor injuries; abrasions, cuts and bruises.

This recall involves three models of 12V battery-operated ride-on toys, including Surge 12V Camo 4X4, Surge 12V XL Quad and Tonka 12V Mighty Dump trucks.

The recalled ride-on toys have model numbers and date codes listed in the table below. The model number, batch number, serial number and date code, formatted as “MMDDYYYY,” are printed on a label on the bottom of the ride-on toy.

Product Name and Color

Model Number

Date Codes

Batch

Number

Serial Numbers

Surge 12V Camo 4X4

Color: Camouflage and black with orange Surge graphic and accents

8803-31

06082016 06152016 06302016 07142016 07192016 07202016 07262016 07282016 08032016 08092016   08162016

302119 302247 302248 302249 302255 302256 302257 302292 302296 302298 302299

DA0331IF00001-DA0331IF01650

DA0331IG00001-DA0331IG03450

DA0331IH01201-DA0331IH02200

DA0331IH05001-DA0331IH05200

DA0331IH05501-DA0331IH06200

Surge 12V XL Quad

Color: Camouflage and black with neon green Surge graphic and accents

8803-38

07222016 08192016 08242016

3101735 3101741 3101743 3101748 3101749 3101750

DA0338IG00001-DA0338IG01250

DA0338IH00001-DA0338IH02200

Tonka 12V Mighty Dump Truck

Color: yellow and black with red and white Tonka graphic

8801-96U

05182016 06022016 06162016 06302016 07132016

302203 302205 302207 302209 302211

DA0196IE00141-DA0196IE05500

DA0196IF00001-DA0196IF07400

DA0196IG00001-DA0196IG02500

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold as follows:

The Surge 12V Camo 4X4 was sold at Walmart nationwide between June 2016, and March, 2017 for about $300.

The Surge 12V XL Quad sold at Academy Sports + Outdoors stores nationwide from September 2016, through March 2017, for between $150 and $200.

The Tonka 12V Might Dump Truck was sold at Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com from July 2016, through November 2016, for about $350.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled ride-on toys away from children and contact Dynacraft to receive a free replacement foot pedal with installation instructions. Consumers in need of assistance with the repair, can bring the ride-on toy to an authorized service center for a free repair.

Consumers may contact Dynacraft at 800-551-0032 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.dynacraftwheels.com and click on “Product Recalls” for more information.

Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 20,000 Surge and Tonka battery-operated ride-on toys.The acceleration pedal can stick, pos...

Fall hazard prompts recalls of Krusher scooters

The down tube can break, posing a fall hazard to the rider

Pulse Performance Products of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is recalling about 18,700 Krusher Push scooters.

The down tube can break, posing a fall hazard to the rider.

The firm has received 15 reports of the down tube breaking, including two reports of scrapes from falls.

This recall involves Pulse Krusher Pro Freestyle scooters with factory code 083WY, item number 164257 and date code 10-8-2016 or earlier. The factory code, item number and date code can be found on a label printed on the underside of the scooter deck.

The 30-inch high scooters were sold in blue and have the words “PULSE PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS” printed on the down tube.

The scooters, manufactured in China, were sold at Walmart and Westminster Trading stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from June 2016, through May 2017, for about $40.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled scooters and contact Pulse Performance Products for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Pulse Performance Products toll-free at 844-728-9957 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.pulsescooters.com and click on “CPSC Safety Recall” for more information.

Pulse Performance Products of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is recalling about 18,700 Krusher Push scooters. The down tube can break, posing a fall hazard t...

Douglas Company recalls plush toys

The toys' plastic eyes can detach

The Douglas Company of Keene, N.H., is recalling about 25,000 plush toys.

The toys' plastic eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard.

The company has received two reports of the plastic eyes detaching or loosening. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the Oliver the Bear, Chewie the English Bulldog, and Charlotte the Fox model plush toys.

Oliver the Bear is a brown and tan stuffed bear, with a blue t-shirt that reads “Oliver the Bear” and a red, removable cape.

Chewie is a stuffed, brown and white English Bulldog with a blue patch sewn on the chest that reads “Chewie.”

Charlotte is a stuffed, brown, black and white Fox with removable blue cape.

Each has a sewn-in label with the words “DOUGLAS the cuddle toy.”

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at specialty toy and gift stores nationwide from July 2014, to April 2017, for about $20. They also were distributed by UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) to various individuals and organizations.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled plush toys away from young children and contact the firm to receive a free replacement product or a full refund.

Consumers may contact Douglas at 800-276-4029 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.douglastoys.com and click on Product Recall for more information.

The Douglas Company of Keene, N.H., is recalling about 25,000 plush toys.The toys' plastic eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard.The company has...

Little Passports recalls science kits

The battery packs included in the kits can overheat

Little Passports of San Francisco, Calif., is recalling about 7,700 Science Expeditions Northern Lights science kits sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The battery packs included in the kits can overheat, posing a burn hazard.

The firm has received seven reports of the battery packs overheating. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the Science Expeditions Northern Lights science kits with “Make an Electromagnet” and “Aurora in a Box” experiments that use battery packs.

The kits were sent to Little Passports subscribers in February 2017.

The “Magnet Lab” experiment and comic book included in the Science Expeditions Northern Lights kit do not use battery packs and can still be used.

The kits, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively online at www.littlepassports.com to Little Passports subscribers in February 2017 for between $18 and $21.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the battery packs included in the kits and contact Little Passports for a Crystal Growing Kit replacement product or coupon for $12 off any kit in Little Passports’ online store. The firm is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Consumers may contact Little Passports toll-free at 866-991-4547 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.littlepassports.com and click on “Product Safety” for more information.

Little Passports of San Francisco, Calif., is recalling about 7,700 Science Expeditions Northern Lights science kits sold in the U.S. and Canada.The ba...

Horizon Hobby recalls remote-controlled model vehicles

The vehicle’s electronic speed control can fail and short circuit

Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 19,000 ECX Circuit, Ruckus and Torment remote-controlled model vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The vehicle’s electronic speed control (ESC) can fail and short circuit, posing a fire hazard.

The firm has received 19 reports of the ESC in the model truck and cars catching fire. No injuries or property damage has been reported.

The recall involves the Dynamite 40-Amp FWD REV Brushed ESC – DYNS2201.

It is the Electronic Speed Control (ESC) that comes in the remote controlled hobby model vehicles ECX 1/10 LiPo Circuit, Ruckus and Torment models with the following models numbers: ECX03130T1, ECX03130T2, ECX03131T1, ECX03131T2, ECX03133T1, ECX03133T2, ECX03154.

The model numbers can be found on the product box or in the owner’s manual for each vehicle. The model vehicles measure about 18 inches in length and 12 inches in width and are hobby grade remote control models for ages 14 and up.

The models, manufactured in China, were sold at Horizon Hobby stores nationwide and online at www.horizonhobby.com from October 2016, through December 2016, for about $180.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact Horizon Hobby for instructions on receiving a free replacement ESC.

Consumers may contact Horizon Hobby at 800-338-4639 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 P.M. (CT) on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) on Sunday or online at www.horizonhobby.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.

Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Ill., is recalling about 19,000 ECX Circuit, Ruckus and Torment remote-controlled model vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada....

Target recalls water absorbing toys

If the small toy is ingested, it can expand inside a child's body

Target Corp., of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 560,000 water-absorbing Easter and Dino toys.

If the small toy is ingested, it can expand inside a child's body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening.

Surgery is required to remove the toy from the body, if ingested. There is a possibility that the toys might not show up on an x-ray.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs, Easter Grow Toys and Hatch Your Own Dino.

Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs and Easter Grow Toys have model number 234-25-1200 on the back of the product’s packaging. Hatch Your Own Dino Egg has model number 234-09-0016 on the label inserted in the product’s packaging.

The pink, blue, or purple Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs include a white bunny, brown bunny, or butterfly. The Easter Grow Toys include a yellow chick, brown bunny, or white bunny. The Hatch Your Own Dino Eggs are purple or yellow/green and contains one of eleven dinosaurs.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Target stores nationwide from February 2017, through March 2017, for about $1.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take this recalled toy away from children and return it to any Target store for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Target at 800- 440-0680 between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CT) Monday through Sunday or online at www.target.com for more information.

Target Corp., of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 560,000 water-absorbing Easter and Dino toys.If the small toy is ingested, it can expand inside...

Juratoys recalls toy trolleys

The toy trolleys can tip backwards

Juratoys U.S. of Fairfield, N.J., is recalling about 10,300 Bricolo by Janod Push toy trolleys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The toy trolleys can tip backwards, posing an impact injury hazard to children.

The company has received two reports of trolleys falling backwards, both resulting in ER visits. One involved a tooth extraction the other a laceration to the child’s nose.

This recall involves four Bricolo by Janod-push toy trolleys. The French Cocotte Cooker trolley is red with orange wheels and includes a cooktop with fried egg shapes, an oven and eight accessories, including pots and pans “Janod” printed on the side and front of the trolley and J06544 printed on the base of the toy.

The DIY-Magnetic trolley is gray and black with red wheels with work station and tools. “Bricolo” is printed on the front of the DIY-Magnetic trolley and J06505 is printed on the base of the toy.

The Redmaster-Magnetic DIY trolley is black and gray with red wheels and 21 accessories, including three magnetic tools and a set of gears. J06493 is printed on the base of the toy.

The Barbecue trolley is brightly colored and comes with a magnetic spatula, magnetic barbecue fork, one piece of pork, two sausages, one fish, one piece of beef, and three tomatoes. J06523 is printed on the base of the toy. The trolleys measure approximately 17 inches tall and have a 1 foot by 1 foot base.

Item Number

Description

Years Sold

J06493

Janod Redmaster –Magnetic DIY Trolley

2015–2017

J06505

Janod DIY – Magnetic Trolley

2014–2017

J06544

Janod French Cocotte Cooker Trolley

2015–2017

J06523

Janod Barbecue Trolley

2012–2014

The trolleys, manufactured in China, were sold at various toy stores nationwide including Giggle and Saks Fifth Avenue, and online at Zulily.com from September 2012, to March 2017, for about $100. The Janod Barbecue trolley sold for about $70.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled trolleys and keep them out of the reach of young children until they have installed a repair kit. Contact Juratoys for a free repair kit that includes instructions, tools, and footers to prevent the toy from tipping backwards.

Consumers may contact Juratoys toll free at 877-277-1663 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.janod.com and click on “Product Recall” under the “Janod Express” tab at the top of the page for more information.

Juratoys U.S. of Fairfield, N.J., is recalling about 10,300 Bricolo by Janod Push toy trolleys sold in the U.S. and Canada.The toy trolleys can tip bac...

Target recalls magnetic tic tac toe games

The magnets can come off the game pieces

Target Corp., of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 19,000 magnetic tic tac toe games.

The magnets can come off the game pieces, posing a choking hazard. In addition, when two or more magnets are swallowed, they can link together inside the intestines and clamp onto body tissues, causing intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death. Internal injury from magnets can pose serious lifelong health effects.

The company has received one report of the magnets falling off the game piece. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves a magnetic tic tac toe 10 x 10 inch plywood board with nine “X” and “Heart” game pieces. The game pieces have a magnet on the back. Model number “234-25-1089” is printed on the bottom right corner of the product.

The games, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from December 2016, through February 2017, for about $5.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled tic tac toe game and return it to any Target store for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Target at 800-440-0680 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CT) any day or online at www.target.com and click on “Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then on “School/Stationery/Seasonal” for more information.

Target Corp., of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 19,000 magnetic tic tac toe games.The magnets can come off the game pieces, posing a choking ha...

Kids II recalls Oball

The clear plastic disc on the outside of the ball can break

Kids II of Atlanta, Ga., is recalling about 697,000 Oball Rattles sold in the U.S and Canada.

The clear plastic disc on the outside of the ball can break, releasing small beads, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received 42 reports of the plastic disc breaking releasing small beads including two reports of beads found in children’s mouths and three reports of gagging.

This recall involves Oball Rattles in pink, blue, green and orange with model number 81031 printed on the inner surface of one of the plastic discs and on the packaging. The balls have 28 finger holes and measure four inches in diameter.

Embedded in the rattles are a clear plastic disc with all orange beads and two clear plastic discs with beads of varying colors on the perimeter.

Only rattles with date codes T0486, T1456, T2316, T2856 and T3065 located on a small triangle on the inner surface of the rattle are included in the recall. The first three numbers represent the day of the year and the last digit represents the year of production.

The rattles, manufactured in China, were sold at Target, Walgreens, Walmart and other retailers nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Babyhaven.com, Diapers.com, ToysRUs.com, Walgreens.com and other online retailers from January 2016, through February 2017, for between $5 and $7.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take these recalled rattles away from young children and contact the firm to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact Kids II toll-free at 877-243-7314 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or visit www.kidsii.com and click on “Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Kids II of Atlanta, Ga., is recalling about 697,000 Oball Rattles sold in the U.S and Canada.The clear plastic disc on the outside of the ball can brea...

Little Tikes recalls toddler swings

The plastic seat can crack or break, posing a fall hazard

Little Tikes of Hudson, Ohio, is recalling about 540,000 Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Pink toddler swings.

The plastic seat can crack or break, posing a fall hazard.

The firm has received about 140 reports of the swing breaking, including 39 injuries to children including abrasions, bruises, cuts and bumps to the head. Two of the reported injuries included children with a broken arm.

This recall involves Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug’n Secure pink toddler swings. The swing has a pink T-shaped restraint in front with a Little Tikes logo, and is suspended by four yellow ropes.

The model number 615573 is molded on the back of the swing seat and there is a manufacturing date code stamp on the back of the seat. The molded INNER arrow of the date code stamp points to “10”, “11”, “12” or “13”, it is included in the recall.

In addition, swings with a date code stamp of “9” on the INNER arrow combined with “43” or higher number stamped on the OUTER are included in this recall. No other date codes or other colored swings are affected.

The swings, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Walmart, Toys “R” Us and other stores nationwide and online at www.littletikes.com and other websites from November 2009, through May 2014, for about $25.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled swings and contact Little Tikes for a refund in the form of a credit towards the purchase of another Little Tikes product.

Consumers may contact Little Tikes toll-free at 855-284-1903 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.littletikes.com and click on Product Recalls under the At Your Service menu for more information.

Little Tikes of Hudson, Ohio, is recalling about 540,000 Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Pink toddler swings.The plastic seat can crack or break, po...

Moose Toys recalls toy frogs

The battery’s chemicals can leak, posing chemical and injury hazards

Moose Toys Proprietary of Australia is recalling about 444,000 Little Live Pets Lil Frog and Lil Frog Lily Pad toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.

When the button batteries are removed from the toy frogs, the battery’s cap can become a projectile and the battery’s chemicals can leak, posing chemical and injury hazards.

The firm has received 17 reports of the battery’s cap becoming a projectile or battery chemicals leaking, including two injuries that resulted in emergency room and doctor’s office visits for eye irritation from the battery chemicals.

This recall involves the Little Live Pets Lil Frog plastic toys. They operate with four button batteries and jump.

Little Live Pets Lil Frog has SKU: 28217 and Lil Frog Lily Pad has SKU: 28218 printed on the frog’s lower belly near its left thigh with a manufacture date code under it. The date code range is WS112016 to WS123216.

The toy frogs were sold in pink, blue and green colors.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at AAFES, Target, Toys “R” Us and Walmart stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from August 2016, through February 2017, for about $15 for the Lil Frog and $25 for the Lil Frog Lily Pad.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the toy frogs, refrain from opening the battery compartment and contact Moose Toys for a free replacement Little Live Pet product.

Consumers may contact Moose Toys toll-free at 844-575-0340 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.moosetoys.com and click on “Product Safety” for more information.

Moose Toys Proprietary of Australia is recalling about 444,000 Little Live Pets Lil Frog and Lil Frog Lily Pad toys sold in the U.S. and Canada.When th...

Pulse Performance recalls children’s electric scooters

The knuckle that joins the wheel to the axle can break

Pulse Performance Products of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is recalling about 8,900 children’s electric scooters.

The knuckle that joins the wheel to the axle can break, posing a fall hazard to the rider.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Pulse Safe Start Transform electric scooters for children with manufacturing date codes between September 10, 2016 and October 11, 2016.

The date code is printed on a label located under the platform in format XX(month)/XX(day)/2016 – 066QY. The scooters were sold in blue and have two wheels in front and one in the rear.

The scooters, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from October 2016, through November 2016, for about $100.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled scooters away from children and contact Pulse Performance Products for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Pulse Performance Products toll-free at 844-287-8711 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.pulsescooters.com and click on “CPSC Safety Recalls” for more information.

Pulse Performance Products of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is recalling about 8,900 children’s electric scooters.The knuckle that joins the wheel to the a...

Bingo Deals recalls chicken toys

The toys can break into small plastic pieces, posing a choking hazard

Bingo Deals is recalling about 2,700 egg-laying chicken toys.

The toys contain small eggs, and the chicken can break into small plastic pieces, both posing a choking hazard to children.

No incidents or injuries are reported.

This recall involves the Bump 'N Go Walking Egg Laying Chicken with light, sound and music. The battery-powered plastic toy is a yellow chicken with an orange head and orange wings. The chicken toy includes three white plastic eggs that are placed into the back of the chicken and then released from the bottom.

The chicken measures 7 inches wide by 6 inches tall by 7 inches deep. The eggs measure one inch wide by one inch tall by one inch deep. “QQ Chicken” is printed on the wing. A small yellow chicken sits on the chicken’s back.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold online at Amazon.com and Bingo Deal’s website www.prextex.com from July 2015, through June 2016, for about $20.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the chicken toy and eggs away from children and contact Bingo Deals for a full refund. Bingo Deals is contacting consumers who bought the toy directly.

Consumers may contact Bingo Deals toll-free at 888-429-1679 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET) on Friday, by email Recall@prextex.com or at Bingo Deal’s website www.prextex.com and click on Recall Safety at the top of the page.

Bingo Deals is recalling about 2,700 egg-laying chicken toys.The toys contain small eggs, and the chicken can break into small plastic pieces, both pos...

Dazzling Toys recalls chicken toys

The toys contain small eggs and the chicken can break into small plastic pieces

Dazzling Toys of Monroe, N.Y., is recalling about 800 egg laying chicken toys.

The toys contain small eggs and the chicken can break into small plastic pieces, both posing a choking hazard to children.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the Bump and Go Action Egg Laying Chickens with lights, music and bump and go action. The battery-powered plastic toy was sold in two styles: a yellow chicken with an orange head and wings and a multi-colored (yellow, green and orange) chicken.

The chicken toy includes three white plastic eggs that are placed into the back of the chicken, and then released from the bottom. The yellow-colored chicken measures 7 inches wide by 6 inches tall by 7 inches deep. The multi-colored chicken measures 7 inches wide by 5 inches tall by 4 inches deep. The eggs for both toys are one inch wide by one inch tall by one inch deep.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold online at www.amazon.com and www.ebay.com from February 2016, through July 2016, for about $12.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toys and contact the firm for a full refund. Dazzling Toys is contacting consumers who purchased the recalled toys.

Consumers may contact Dazzling Toys toll-free at 844-222-2812 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at recall.dazzlingtoys@gmail.com or online at www.dazzlingtoys.com for more information.

Dazzling Toys of Monroe, N.Y., is recalling about 800 egg laying chicken toys. The toys contain small eggs and the chicken can break into small pla...

ALEX Toys recalls infant building play sets

Small parts of the plastic toy building sets can detach, posing a choking hazard

ALEX Toys of new Jersey is recalling about 91,000 ALEX Jr. Baby Builder, First Pops and First Snaps.

Small parts of the plastic toy building sets can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

There have been 22 reports of the ends of small parts detaching from the building sets. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves three ALEX Jr. branded sets of infant building toys: the Baby Builder, model 1982, First Pops, model 1981P and the First Snaps, model 1981S produced prior to November 2010.

The sets include an assortment of plastic shapes in bright colors. The pieces are designed to be pulled, pushed, snapped and twisted and come in stackable plastic jars. They were sold in sets of 14 and 26 pieces.

The recalled First Snaps sets’ containers have the following batch codes, on a sticker above the UPC code on the container:

P0002073

P0001713

P0001330

P0000954

P0002107

P0001628

P0001009

P00000814

P0001948

P0001536

P0001098

P0001677

P0001427

P0000983

The toy sets, manufactured in China, were sold at Barnes & Noble and Land of Nod and online at www.Zulily.com. The Baby Builders were sold from December 2009, through June 2016, for about $28; First Pops ere sold from March 2009, through June 2016, for about $18, and First Snaps were sold from March 2009, through October 2010, for about $18.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled building sets away from children and contact ALEX for a prepaid shipping envelope to return the product(s). ALEX will send consumers a full refund upon receipt of returned sets.

Consumers may Contact ALEX toll-free at 844-310-6691 anytime or online at www.alexbrands.com and click on the “Recall Information” link beneath the carousel for more information.

ALEX Toys of new Jersey is recalling about 91,000 ALEX Jr. Baby Builder, First Pops and First Snaps. Small parts of the plastic toy building sets c...

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...

Auldey Toys recalls Sky Rover toys

The USB charging cords sold with the toy can overheat

Auldey Toys North America of Quincy, Mass., is recalling about 325,000 Sky Rover toys.

The USB charging cords sold with the toy can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

The firm has received 35 reports of charging cords overheating. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves yellow USB charging cords sold with Aero Spin and Aero Cruz Sky Rover remote-controlled flying toys. The toy is shaped like ball with two blades on top, wings on the side and measures about 3 ½ inches tall by 5 inches wide. They are operated by a small one-channel remote control unit.

The following item numbers are included in the recall: YW859110-2, YW859110-3, YW859110-5, YW859110-6 or TTYW859110-5. The item number is printed on a white sticker on the toy’s packaging. They were sold in red, orange and citron green. Only yellow USB charging cords are included in this recall.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Walmart and other mass merchandisers and independent toy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from January 2015, through January 2016, for between $11 and $15.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the USB cords and contact the firm for instructions on obtaining a free replacement charge cord.

Consumers may contact Auldey Toys toll-free at 844-303-8936 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at aeroproducts@auldey.us or online at http://www.AuldeyToys.us and click on “Safety Recall” at the bottom of the page banner for more information.

Auldey Toys North America of Quincy, Mass., is recalling about 325,000 Sky Rover toys. The USB charging cords sold with the toy can overheat, posin...

Kwik Tek recalls sleds

The front handle bar assembly can break

Kwik Tek of Denver, Colo., is recalling about 4,200 Hammerhead sleds.

The front handle bar assembly can break, posing a crash hazard.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Hammerhead sleds, which were sold in blue, green, orange and yellow. The front handle bars have a steering system with polycarbonate skis. The rear HDPE skis are attached to the main aluminum frame.

The units measure 23 inches wide by 9 inches high by 51 inches deep and weigh about 10 pounds. “Hammerhead Pro” is written on the top of the sled.

The sleds, manufactured in China, were sold at LL Bean, Yukon Charlie’s nationwide and online at Amazon.com, EMS.com, LLBean.com, SharperImage.com and YukonCharlies.com from June 2014, to June 2016, for about $180.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sleds and contact Kwik Tek for a free replacement front end.

Consumers may contact Kwik Tek at 800-624-1297 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday or online at yukoncharlies.com and click on “Warranty” in the upper right-hand corner for more information.  

Kwik Tek of Denver, Colo., is recalling about 4,200 Hammerhead sleds. The front handle bar assembly can break, posing a crash hazard. No in...

Cra-Z-Jewelz Ultimate Gem Jewelry Machine recalled

The “Slider Bracelet” in the jewelry making kit contains high levels of lead

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., and Target Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn., are recalling about 175,000 Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations.

The “Slider Bracelet” in the jewelry making kit contains high levels of lead, which is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.

No incidents or injuries are reported.

This recall involves the following two models of LaRose’s Jewelz Gem Creations jewelry making kit and one refill product:

Product Name

Item# – UPC Code

Purpose

Sold at

Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine

UPC #884920174504

Jewelry Making Kit

Retailers, including Kmart, Toys R Us and Walmart

Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Gem Charm and Slider Bracelets

UPC #884920174849

Refill Components for the Jewelry Making Kit

Retailers, including Toys R Us and Walmart

My Look Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine

UPC #884920466340

Jewelry Making Kit

Target

The UPC code is printed on the outside of the product box and on the bottom of the “Gem Machine.”

The kits, manufactured in China, were sold at Kmart, Toys R Us, Walmart. Other retailers sold the Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine from August 2015, through April 2016, for $30.

Toys R Us, Walmart and other retailers sold the Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Gem Charm and Slider Bracelets from August 2015, through April 2016, for $10.

Target stores sold the My Look Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine from August 2015, through April 2016, for $30.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take these recalled products away from children and contact LaRose for instructions to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact LaRose Industries toll-free at (855) 345-4693 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at recall@laroseindustries.com or online at www.laroseindustries.com and click on the Recall tab for more information.

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., and Target Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn., are recalling about 175,000 Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations. The “Slider Br...

Traxxas recalls X-Maxx Monster Trucks and electronic speed controls

Vehicle modification or electronic failure can result in a short circuit

Traxxas LP of McKinney, Texas, is recalling about 5,000

X-Maxx Monster Trucks and 140 VXL-6 electronic speed controls in the U.S. and Canada.

Vehicle modification or electronic failure can result in a short circuit, posing a fire hazard.

The company has received 40 reports of fire. One injury to a finger has been reported.

The recalled VXL-6s electronic speed control #3365 is sold installed in the Traxxas X-Maxx Monster Truck, model 77076-04, and is also sold separately.

The electronic speed control is the electronic control module that manages the throttle control (speed), directional control (forward or reverse) and braking of the drive motor in the truck.  

The truck is 30 inches long, 22 inches wide and 4 inches above the ground and comes in red and blue. It weighs approximately 20 pounds. The electronic speed control is located near the center of the truck in a vented blue case approximately 2 inches wide, 2 inches long and 2 inches tall. Traxxas XMaxx is displayed on the side of the truck.

The trucks and speed controls, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at HobbyTown and other hobby stores and Traxxas dealers nationwide from November 2015, through January 2016. The X-Maxx truck sold for about $840. The electronic speed control sold for about $250.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled trucks and return their electronic speed control to their dealer for a free firmware upgrade and installation of a new fusible link, or contact Traxxas customer support to return the electronic speed control and have a firmware upgrade and free fusible link installation.

Consumers may contact: Traxxas toll-free at 888-872-9927 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.Traxxas.com, then click on “Support” and then “Repair-Exchange” for more information.

Traxxas LP of McKinney, Texas, is recalling about 5,000 X-Maxx Monster Trucks and 140 VXL-6 electronic speed controls in the U.S. and Canada.Vehicl...

Pacific Cycle recalls infant bicycle helmets

The magnetic buckle on the chin strap has small plastic covers and magnets that can come loose

Pacific Cycle of Madison, Wis., is recalling about 129,000 infant bicycle helmets with magnetic no-pinch buckle chin straps.

The magnetic buckle on the chin strap contains small plastic covers and magnets that can come loose, posing a risk of choking and magnet ingestion to young children.

The company has received three reports of the plastic cover coming loose. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves infant bicycle helmets made for infants ranging from one to three years old. The helmet and its straps come in various colors and design patterns. The buckles have small plastic covers and enclosed magnets. “SCHWINN” is printed on the front of the helmets. Only helmets with the magnetic no-pinch chin strap buckles are affected by this recall.

The helmets, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Target stores and online at www.target.com from January 2014, through April 2016, for between $18 and $25.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the helmets away from children and contact Pacific Cycle for instructions on how to receive a free replacement helmet.

Consumers may contact Pacific Cycle toll-free at 877-564-2261 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday, by email at customerservice@pacific-cycle.com or online at www.schwinnbikes.com and click on “Support” then “Safety & Recalls” or www.target.com and click on “Product Recall” for more information.  

Pacific Cycle of Madison, Wis., is recalling about 129,000 infant bicycle helmets with magnetic no-pinch buckle chin straps. The magnetic buckle on...

Hobby Lobby recalls infant rattles

The rattle seams can separate, exposing the fiber stuffing and bell rattle

Hobby Lobby Stores of Oklahoma City, Okla., is recalling about 14,400 Little Wishes Chenille Stuffed Rattles.

The rattle seams can separate, exposing the fiber stuffing and bell rattle, posing a choking hazard.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Little Wishes Chenille Stuffed Rattles, including the Pink & Green Fish rattles, item number 5141577, and the Blue & Yellow Fish rattles, item number 5127642. The rattles are made of a soft chenille fabric with a fiber stuffing, and are 8.5 inches by 7 inches and have a hole cut out in the middle.

The item number is printed on the top left corner of the product hang tag. Rattles have a sewn-in label with “Reg. No. PA-15130(CN)” and “Hobby Lobby 9123069” printed on the front of the label.

The rattles, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Hobby Lobby Stores nationwide from January 2016, through April 2016, for about $7.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled rattles and return them to the nearest Hobby Lobby store for a full refund or store credit.

Consumers may contact Hobby Lobby Stores at 800-326-7931from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.hobbylobby.com and click on the “Recall” tab at the bottom of the page for more information.  

Hobby Lobby Stores of Oklahoma City, Okla., is recalling about 14,400 Little Wishes Chenille Stuffed Rattles. The rattle seams can separate, exposi...

Munchkin recalls Latch lightweight pacifiers & clips

The clip cover can detach from the pacifier’s clip, posing a choking hazard

Munchkin of Van Nuys, Calif., is recalling about 180,000 Latch lightweight pacifiers and clips.

The clip cover can detach from the pacifier’s clip, posing a choking hazard.

The firm has received 10 reports (five in the U.S. and five in Canada) of the clip cover detaching from the pacifier clip. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Munchkin’s Latch lightweight pacifiers and clips sold as a set. The pacifiers were sold in five styles: designer, rattle and heartbeat clips with 0m+ natural shape pacifiers, and designer and rattle clips with 6m+ orthodontic pacifiers.

The designer pacifiers and clips 0m+ and 6m+ are in three color patterns: blue and white strips, orange and with white polka dots and pink with white polka dots. The rattle pacifiers and clips 0m+ and 6m+ are green with beads in the pacifier cover to make a rattle sound and have a polka dot strap. The heartbeat pacifiers and clips have a red, heart-shaped pacifier cover and red and white polka dots on the strap.

The pacifiers and clips, manufactured in China, were sold at Babies R Us, Target, Wal-Mart and other mass merchandisers, juvenile product, baby boutique and discount stores nationwide and online at amazon.com, munchkin.com and other website from March 2014, through March 2016, for between $11 and $15.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the clip away from young children and contact Munchkin for a free replacement Lightweight Pacifier pack with two pacifiers or a full refund.

Consumers may contact Munchkin toll-free at 877-242-3134 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.munchkin.com for more information.

Munchkin of Van Nuys, Calif., is recalling about 180,000 Latch lightweight pacifiers and clips. The clip cover can detach from the pacifier’s clip,...

Flying Tiger Copenhagen recalls wooden toys

Parts of the wooden toys can become detached, posing a choking hazard

Flying Tiger Copenhagen of New York is recalling about 1,000 wooden toy blocks and giraffes.

Parts of the wooden toys can become detached, resulting in small pieces that can pose a choking hazard to young children.

No incidents or injuries are reported

This recall involves Flying Tiger Copenhagen wooden blocks and wooden giraffe toys. The Twist & Lock blocks were sold in a combination of blue, green and yellow and red, pink and yellow. Item number 1701354 is printed on the packaging for the blocks.

The Twist & Lock giraffe toys were sold in pink and red combination and a yellow and orange combination. Item number 1701493 is printed on the packaging for the giraffe.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Flying Tiger Copenhagen in New York from November 2015, through December 2015, for about $3.

What to do

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys from young children and return the products to Flying Tiger Copenhagen for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Flying Tiger Copenhagen toll-free at 844-350-0560 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.flyingtiger.com and click on “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page.

Flying Tiger Copenhagen of New York is recalling about 1,000 wooden toy blocks and giraffes. Parts of the wooden toys can become detached, resultin...

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...

Rainbow Play Systems reannounces recall of plastic yellow trapeze rings

The rings can unexpectedly crack or break during use

Because of a low response rate, Rainbow Play Systems is reannouncing its earlier recall of 133,000 plastic yellow trapeze rings manufactured by Nylacarb Corporation and sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

The rings can unexpectedly crack or break during use, posing a fall hazard to children.

The company has received more than 100 reports of the rings cracking or breaking, including 15 with reports of injuries consisting of bumps, bruises, lacerations, concussion and one broken finger.

This recall involves only the yellow plastic trapeze rings. They are triangular in shape with rounded sides and have a loop at the top. They measure about 8½ inches high by 6½ inches wide. The yellow rings come as a pair and were connected to a trapeze bar.

They were sold either as a separate component or as an attachment on the following Rainbow-branded residential wooden playsets: All-American, Backyard Circus, Carnival, Fiesta, King Kong, Monster, Sunray, Sunshine and Rainbow.

All of these playsets have an aluminum plate located on the front of the wooden swing beam with the following name stamped on it, “Playgrounds America,” “Rainbow Play Systems Inc.,” or “Sunray Premium Playgrounds.”

The rings, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Rainbow dealers nationwide from January 2007, through December 2011, and at several mass merchandisers including Sam’s Club, Toys R Us and Walmart from January 2009, through December 2009. The playsets retailed for between $900 and $10,000.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop children from using the recalled rings, contact Rainbow for ring removal instructions, then remove the rings from the playset and receive a $10 gift card.

Consumers may contact Rainbow Play Systems toll-free at 888-201-1570 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at http://recall.rainbowplay.com/ for more information.  

Because of a low response rate, Rainbow Play Systems is reannouncing its earlier recall of 133,000 plastic yellow trapeze rings manufactured by Nylacarb Co...

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...

KHS America recalls children’s musical instrument

The instrument may contain excessive levels of lead in the paint

KHS America of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is recalling about 150 Monkey Glockenspiel children’s musical instruments.

The pink metal note bar on the glockenspiel may contain excessive levels of lead in the paint, violating the federal lead paint standard. If the paint is scraped off and ingested lead can cause adverse health effects.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The Green Tones 8-note Monkey Glockenspiel is a children’s musical instrument with eight metal bars in multiple colors mounted on a wooden base shaped like a monkey. The bars are individually attached to the base with one screw at each end.

The second bar from the top is pink, 3.5 inches long and has a “B” stamped on it. This is the bar that needs to be replaced.

The Green Tones logo is stamped on the back of the glockenspiel and the tracking number HS0178410914 is printed in black at the bottom.

The instruments, manufactured in Israel, were sold at independent toy and music retailers and online at amazon.com and gogreentones.com from January 2015, through September 2015, for about $40.

Consumers should immediately remove the pink bar from the glockenspiel and contact KHS America for information on getting a free replacement pink bar.

Consumers may contact KHS America Green Tones at 800-283-4676 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.gogreentones.com for more information.

KHS America of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is recalling about 150 Monkey Glockenspiel children’s musical instruments. The pink metal note bar on the glocken...

Wedgwood decorative baby rattles recalled

The ball bearings inside each side of the decorative rattle can be released

WWRD U.S. of Wall, N.J., is recalling nearly 700 Wedgwood Peter Rabbit decorative baby rattles in the U.S. and Canada.

The ball bearings inside each side of the decorative rattle can be released, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received two reports of ball bearings releasing from the decorative giftware baby rattle. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves all Wedgwood Peter Rabbit decorative baby rattles. The silver-plated giftware is shaped like a baby rattle, but is intended to be used as decoration only. It measures about 4 ½ inches long and 2 inches wide.

A Peter Rabbit figure and “hop hop hop” underneath are embossed on one end cap and “hop little rabbit” over the Peter Rabbit figure is embossed on the other end cap.

The decorative rattles, manufactured in China, were sold at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, WWRD Outlets and other department stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.com and www.wedgwood.com from April 2015, through December 2015, for between $75 and $95.

Consumers should immediately stop using the decorative rattles and take them away from young children and contact WWRD for a full refund.

Consumers may contact WWRD toll-free at 877-892-9973 anytime or online at www.wwrd.com for more information.

WWRD U.S. of Wall, N.J., is recalling nearly 700 Wedgwood Peter Rabbit decorative baby rattles in the U.S. and Canada. The ball bearings inside eac...

Dollar General recalls construction truck toy vehicles

The toy truck’s remote control can short circuit

Dollar General of Goodlettsville, Tenn., is recalling about 27,000 toy trucks.

The toy truck’s remote control can short circuit, causing it to overheat and posing fire and burn hazards.

The company has received five reports of the toy’s remote control overheating. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves a toy excavator and a shovel loader. The remote controlled plastic toys are orange with black and orange wheels. Both have tracking code 90RWE15 marked on the back of the battery compartment. UPC number 00430000549030 can be found on the bottom of the packaging.

Power, Shovel Loader and Super Power are printed on stickers located on the side of the excavator. UPC 00400001622537 can be found on the bottom of the packaging. 6000Kg Peakload, FL-330 Deluxe Crane, and Crane Super Truck are printed on stickers located on the side of the shovel loader.

The toy trucks, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Dollar General stores nationwide and online at www.dollargeneral.com from July 2015, through December 2015, for about $10.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy vehicles away from children and contact Dollar General for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Dollar General at 800-678-9258 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, by email at custsv@dollargeneral.com or online at http://www2.dollargeneral.com/Customer-Care-Center/Pages/product-recall-pdfs/Recall-Toy_Construction_Vehicle.pdf.

Dollar General of Goodlettsville, Tenn., is recalling about 27,000 toy trucks. The toy truck’s remote control can short circuit, causing it to over...

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...

Pottery Barn Kids recalls Avengers and Darth Vader water bottles

The gray paint on the water bottle can contain excessive levels of lead

Pottery Barn Kids of San Francisco, Calif., is recalling about 15,630 Avengers and Darth Vader-themed water bottles in the U.S. and Canada.

The gray paint on the metal portion of the water bottle can contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Avengers and Darth Vader-themed stainless steel water bottles with images of Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man on one and an image of Darth Vader and the Death Star on the other.

The water bottles are gray with a blue or black plastic top, a vacuum-valve stopper and are 5 ½ inches tall by 2 ¾ inches in diameter. SKU number 7939721 (Avengers) or 7939721 (Darth Vader) is printed on the price sticker affixed to the bottom of the bottle, along with one of the following date codes: 12/2013, 8/2014 or 12/2014.

A tracking label imprinted on the underside of the bottle contains the date code printed along with the words, “Pottery Barn Kids,” “LOT 1, BATCH 1” and “JINHUA, CHINA.”

The water bottles, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Outlet stores nationwide, through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and online at www.potterybarnkids.com from June 2014, through September 2015, for about $16.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled water bottles from children and return them to the nearest Pottery Barn Kids store or contact the firm’s toll-free number for free shipping information. Consumers will have the option of a full refund or replacement water bottle, plus a $20 Pottery Barn Kids gift card.

Consumers may contact Pottery Barn Kids toll-free at 844-421-8062 from 7 a.m. to midnight (ET) daily, or online at http://www.potterybarnkids.com/customer-service/recall-water-bottle.html for more information.  

Pottery Barn Kids of San Francisco, Calif., is recalling about 15,630 Avengers and Darth Vader-themed water bottles in the U.S. and Canada. The gray paint...

LaRose Industries recalls Peanuts Flying Ace ride-on toys

The toy’s blue hubcaps can detach from the wheel’s axle

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., is recalling about 11,000 Peanuts Flying Ace ride-on toys.

The toy’s blue hubcaps can detach from the wheel’s axle, posing a choking hazard to young children.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Peanuts Flying Ace ride-on toys modeled after older style airplanes. The toys are intended for children ages 12 months to two years.

The body of the plane is red, the steering wheel, propeller and wings are yellow and the hubcaps are blue. “Snoopy Flying Ace” is printed on the front of the toy airplane and Snoopy characters are printed on each wing and on the front. The ride-on toys measure 19 inches long by 19 ½ inches wide (wing span) by 13 inches high.

A hang tag attached to the product at purchase has “#38126” printed on it and one of the following date codes:

  • BCHTAR616A13-0515
  • BCHTAR614A13-0515
  • BCHTAR615A11-0515
  • BCHTAR684A20-0515
  • BCHTAR682A05-0615
  • BCHTAR683A05-0615

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Target stores nationwide from July 2015, through August 2015, for about $40.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled ride-on toys away from children and return the product to any Target store for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Target at 800-440-0680 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.target.com, click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the homepage under the Help section. Consumers can also click on the Product Recalls tab on Target’s Facebook page for more information. Consumers can also visit LaRose’s website at www.cra-z-art.com and click on the Product Recall tab at the bottom of the page.

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., is recalling about 11,000 Peanuts Flying Ace ride-on toys. The toy’s blue hubcaps can detach from the wheel’s axle, p...

Build-A-Bear recalls stuffed animals

The satin seam of the stuffed animal can open, allowing the stuffing material to be exposed

Build-A-Bear Workshop of St. Louis, Mo., is recalling about 34,600 Starbrights Dragon stuffed animals in the U.S. and Canada.

The satin seam of the stuffed animal can open, allowing the stuffing material to be exposed, posing a choking hazard for young children.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

Starbrights Dragon is covered in a blue furry fabric with silver satin tummy, feet pads, wings and horns. The horns light up and the toy makes a musical sound when the hand is squeezed. The stuffed animal is about 17 inches high.

The tracking label ending with 9333 or 9334 for USA and 9337 or 9459 for Canada can be found on the label sewn on the backside of the leg.

The stuffed animals. Manufactured in China, were sold at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and online at www.buildabear.com between April 2015, and August 2015, for about $25.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled stuffed animal away from children and return it to any Build-A-Bear Workshop store to receive a coupon for any Build-A-Bear stuffed animal.

Consumers may contact Build-A-Bear toll-free at 866-236-5638 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) on Sunday; by email at ProductHotline@buildabear.com or online www.buildabear.com for more information.

Build-A-Bear Workshop of St. Louis, Mo., is recalling about 34,600 Starbrights Dragon stuffed animals in the U.S. and Canada. The satin seam of the stuffe...

Rainbow Play Systems recalls plastic yellow trapeze rings

The rings can unexpectedly crack or break during use

Rainbow Play Systems is recalling about 133,000 pairs of plastic trapeze rings sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The rings can unexpectedly crack or break during use, posing a fall hazard to children.

The company has received more than 100 reports of the rings cracking or breaking including 15 with reports of injuries consisting of bumps, bruises, lacerations, concussion and one broken finger.

This recall involves only the yellow plastic trapeze rings, which are triangular with rounded sides and have a loop at the top. They measure about 8½ inches high by 6½ inches wide. The yellow rings come as a pair and are connected to a trapeze bar.

They were sold either as a separate component or as an attachment on the following Rainbow-branded residential wooden playsets: All-American, Backyard Circus, Carnival, Fiesta, King Kong, Monster, Sunray, Sunshine and Rainbow.

All of these playsets have an aluminum plate located on the front of the wooden swing beam with the following name stamped on it, “Playgrounds America,” “Rainbow Play Systems Inc.,” or “Sunray Premium Playgrounds.”

The trapeze rings, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Rainbow dealers nationwide from January 2007, through December 2011, and at several mass merchandisers including Sam’s Club, Toys R Us and Walmart from January 2009, through December 2009. The playsets retailed for between $900 and $10,000.

Consumers should immediately stop children from using the recalled rings, contact Rainbow for ring removal instructions, then remove the rings from the playset and receive a $10 gift card.

Consumers may contact Rainbow Play Systems toll-free at 888-201-1570 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.rainbowplay.com and click on the Recall tab located on the top menu bar for more information.  

Rainbow Play Systems is recalling about 133,000 pairs of plastic Trapeze rings sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The rings can unexpectedly crack or br...

The Land of Nod recalls mobiles

The yarn from the sheep figures can unravel, posing a strangulation hazard

The Land of Nod is recalling about 400 Follow the Herd mobiles.

The yarn from the sheep figures can unravel, posing an entanglement and strangulation hazard to young children.

The company has received three reports of the sheep's yarn unraveling. No injuries have been reported.

The Land of Nod Follow the Herd mobile mobile is made of white wool felt and has five sheep figures made of white wool yarn. The sheep have black felt eyes and brown felt ears. The mobile is about 24 inches tall, 10 inches wide and 10 inches deep. SKU number 198234 is on a label attached to the body of the mobile.

The mobiles, manufactured in Nepal, were sold exclusively at The Land of Nod stores nationwide and online at www.landofnod.com from September 2013, through May 2015, for about $50.

Consumers should immediately put the recalled mobiles out of the reach of children and contact The Land of Nod for 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 is recalling about 400 Follow the Herd mobiles. The yarn from the sheep figures can unravel, posing an entanglement and strangulation haz...

Juratoys recalls fishing games

The product has small parts that pose a choking hazard to children

Juratoys U.S. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is recalling about 14,200 Sardines and Starfish fishing games in the U.S. and Canada.

The plastic worm at the end of the fishing pole line can separate, producing small parts that pose a choking hazard to children. Additionally, the small magnet inside the worm can liberate. Swallowing multiple magnets can result in serious internal injury.

The firm has received about 417 reports of the plastic worm at the end of the fishing pole line separating and releasing small parts, including four reports of children ingesting a small part. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves two models of the Juratoys fishing game, Sardines and Starfish. The fishing game user picks up a toy fish using a play fishing rod with a magnetic worm.

The Sardine fishing game has a red and white sardine with a yellow eye painted on a sardine-shaped tin and has product number J08152 printed on the bottom of the container at the tail, and on the back of one of the fish pieces.

The Starfish fishing game has an orange starfish painted on a starfish-shaped tin with a product number J08153 printed on the bottom of the container and on the back of one of the fish pieces.

Each set comes with two wooden fishing rods and several wooden fish with a magnetic button in the middle. The lid of each tin package contains the word “Janod.”

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold online at www.citruslane.com, www.burrogoods.com, www.terratoys.com, www.patinastores.com; numerous retail stores including Patina, Burro, and Terra Toys; and at Juratoys trade shows from April 2015, through August 2015, for approximately $15 to $20.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled games and keep them out of the reach of young children. Consumers should contact Juratoys for a prepaid shipping envelope to return the game. Juratoys will then send a $15 refund check for the Sardines game and a $20 refund check for the Starfish game. Consumers who paid more should include a receipt in the return to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact Juratoys U.S. toll-free at 877-271-0440 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.juratoysus.com or www.janod.com and click on the “Product Recall” link at the bottom of the page for more information.

Juratoys U.S. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is recalling about 14,200 Sardines and Starfish fishing games in the U.S. and Canada. The plastic worm at the end ...

Manhattan Group recalls children’s elephant activity toys

The wooden ring can break into small pieces

Manhattan Group of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 2,800 My Snuggly Ellie Activity toys.

The wooden ring can break into small pieces, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The company has received one report of the wooden ring breaking. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the My Snuggly Ellie Activity toy, a plush brown elephant with white crinkle ears. There is a green hanging loop on top of its head allowing it to be a stroller or crib attachment.

On the stomach there is a mini mirror while a teether and wooden ring hang below its body. The item number is 212520 and can be found on the small white tag sewn into the bottom of the toy.

The activity toy, manufactured in China, was sold at specialty toy and baby stores nationwide, and online at www.manhattantoy.com from February 2014, through May 2015, for about $10

Consumers should immediately take the toy away from young children and return it the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Manhattan Group toll-free at (800) 541-1345 between 8 am and 5 pm (CT) Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s web site (http://www.manhattantoy.com/k/recalls/RECALLS).

Manhattan Group of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 2,800 My Snuggly Ellie Activity toys. The wooden ring can break into small pieces, posing a chok...

Toyota recalls Lexus NX200t vehicles

A malfunctioning Anti-Lock Braking System actuator could cause a loss of vehicle stability

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 3,013 model year 2015 Lexus NX200t vehicles manufactured December 18, 2014, to February 2, 2015.

These vehicles are equipped with an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control System (TRAC), and Vehicle Stability Control System (VSC) which are controlled by an ABS actuator. A component inside the actuator may have been damaged during its assembly and may cause the actuator to not function properly.

Under some driving conditions, when the ABS is activated, the malfunctioning ABS actuator could cause a loss of vehicle stability, increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the ABS actuator, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early July 2015.

Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 3,013 model year 2015 Lexus NX200t vehicles manufactured December 18, 2014, to February 2, 2015. The...

Northern Tool + Equipment recalls Little Digger toy

The red paint on the Little Digger toy frame contains excessive levels of lead

Northern Tool + Equipment Company of Fredericksburg, Va., is recalling about 7,000 Little Digger toys.

The red paint on the Little Digger toy frame contains excessive levels of lead, which is prohibited under federal law.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Wel-Bilt brand Little Diggers, Item # 28303. It is a stationary scooper toy with moveable poles that allow the child to scoop items up into the bucket. The item has a red powder-coated steel frame with a black plastic seat and black adjustable scoop with two yellow plastic grips on the poles and a six-sided frame base.

The toy is about 17 inches high and 25 inches wide.It has a manufacture date of August 2014, through June 2015.Wel-Bilt is printed on the front of the bucket and the manufacture date is written on the tracking label located on the bucket.  The item number #28303 is printed only on the toy’s packaging

The toy, manufactured in China, was sold at Northern Tool + Equipment retail stores and catalogs and online at www.amazon.com, www.kotulas.com  andwww.northerntool.com from August 2014, through June 2015, for about $30.

Consumers should immediately stop using the Little Digger Toy, put it out of reach of children and contact the firm for a full refund.

Consumers may contactNorthern Tool + Equipment toll free at (888) 518-0339 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., CT, Monday through Friday.

Northern Tool + Equipment Company of Fredericksburg, Va., is recalling about 7,000 Little Digger toys....

Bunnies by the Bay recalls pull toys

Hub caps on the wheels can break or come off the wheel

Bunnies by the Bay of East Windsor, N.J., is recalling about 810 Bud and Skipit Wheely Cute pull toys in the U.S. and Canada.

Hub caps on the wheels can break or come off the wheel, posing a choking hazard for young children.

No incidents have been reported.

Bud, an 8-inch high soft brown puppy with a blue and white pull cord, stands on red wooden wheels with blue hub caps. There is a red, blue and white soft ball at the end of the pull cord.

Skipit, an 8-inch high cream-colored bunny with an orange and white pull cord, stands on blue wheels with orange hub caps. There is a soft cloth carrot at the end of the pull cord.

Lot code YM5/14 is on the label sewn on the back leg of each toy. The item number for Bud Wheely Cute Toy, found on the lower right-hand corner of the original packing, is #401101. The item number for Skipit Wheely Cute Toy is #401103.

The pull toys, manufactured in China, were sold at gift and specialty stores nationwide and online at Bunniesbythebay.com and amazon.com from February 2015, through April 2015, for about $30.

Consumers should take the toys away from young children immediately and return the item to where it was purchased for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Bunnies by the Bay toll-free at (866) 763-8869 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday or by email at customerservice@kidspreferred.com.

Bunnies by the Bay of East Windsor, N.J., is recalling about 810 Bud and Skipit Wheely Cute pull toys in the U.S. and Canada. Hub caps on the wheels can b...

Schylling recalls Police Press and Go toy vehicles

The hat can detach from the policeman’s head and pose a choking hazard

Schylling Inc. of Rowley, Mass., is recalling about 15,300 Police Press & Go toy vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

The hat can detach from the policeman’s head and pose a choking hazard to young children.

The company has received 1 report of the police hat detaching from the toy vehicles. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the Police Press & Go toy vehicles. The white plastic toy cars have a painted dark blue hood and trunk, light blue windshield with a black eyes and mouth painted on the front of the car. There is a police head coming out of the roof of the car wearing a blue police hat with a green star on the center of the hat. When the police head is pressed down it winds up the motor and the car moves forward.

The toy vehicles measure about 2.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches long by 3.5 inches tall. “Schylling Rowley, MA” and UPC number “01964922782” are printed on the bottom of the toy cars.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at specialty toy and gift stores nationwide from April 2010, through April 2015, for about $5.

Consumers may contact Schylling at (800) 767-8697 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or by email at SafetyAlert@Schylling.com.

Schylling Inc. of Rowley, Mass., is recalling about 15,300 Police Press & Go toy vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. The hat can detach from the policeman’s ...

Branded LLC recalls kaleidoscope toy

The end caps of the kaleidoscope can be removed and expose small parts

Branded LLC of Sammamish, Wash., is recalling about 35,000 H-E-Buddy kaleidoscopes.

The end caps of the kaleidoscope can be removed and expose small parts that can come loose and pose a choking hazard to small children, and internal components that pose a risk of laceration.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recalled H-E-Buddy kaleidoscopes are made of red plastic, about 5 ¾ inches long and 2 inches in diameter and have "H-E-Buddy" on the barrel.

The kaleidoscopes, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at H-E-B and H-E-B Plus stores in Texas from April 1, 2015, to April 3, 2015, as a prize for accumulated purchase points.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kaleidoscopes, take them from children and return them to an H-E-B store for a refund of purchase points that can be used for another item.

Consumers may contact H-E-Buddy Prize Line at (800) 399-0629 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT daily.

Branded LLC of Sammamish, Wash., is recalling about 35,000 H-E-Buddy kaleidoscopes. The end caps of the kaleidoscope can be removed and expose small parts...

Cycle Gear recalls semi truck and motorcycle toys

The toys contain excessive levels of lead

Cycle Gear of Benicia, Calif., is recalling about 155 sets of Wheelies semi-truck with 6 motorcycles and push-along motorcycle with rider.

The toys contain excessive levels of lead, which is a violation of the federal standard for lead content.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves plastic Wheelies semi-truck with 6 motorcycles toy and Wheelies push-along motorcycle toys. The semi-truck has a dual-level trailer that carries six motorcycles and comes in red and purple with multi-colored motorcycles. The truck with the trailer attached measures 18 inches long by 7 inches tall.

The truck has the item number Item # TAG66767 and SKU# 752249 printed on the packaging. The Wheelies push-along motorcycle is red with a rider in black with silver accents. The product has item # TBG04323 and SKU# 752251 printed on the package.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Cycle Gear stores and online at www.cyclegear.com from November 2014, through December 2014, for about $10 for Push Along Motorcycle and $20 for Semi-Truck with six motorcycles.

Consumers should immediately take away from children and stop using the recalled toys and contact Cycle Gear Inc. for a full refund. Cycle Gear Inc. is contacting consumers directly.

Consumers may contact Cycle Gear at (800) 292-5343 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Cycle Gear of Benicia, Calif., is recalling about 155 sets of Wheelies semi-truck with 6 motorcycles and push-along motorcycle with rider. The toys contai...

Airplane and butterfly push toys recalled

The toys pose a choking hazard to young children

LS Import of Houston, Texas, is recalling about 660 airplane and butterfly push toys.

The wheels of the airplane and the balls at the tip of the butterfly’s antenna can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The are no reports of incidents or injuries

This recall involves plastic airplane and butterfly push toys. The airplane push toy is red and has a blue, yellow and red rotor above the cockpit’s canopy and eyelids on the nose of the airplane that open and shut when the toy is been pushed on the floor. It also has a pink plastic rod with a handle that connects to the back of the toy to push it.

The butterfly push toy’s body is yellow with pink wings and has a pink plastic ball at the end of each of two antennas and a pair of wings that flap up and down when the toy is been pushed on the floor. In addition, it has a green plastic rod with a handle that connects to the back of the toy to push it.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at LS Import stores in Houston, Texas, from May 2014, through July 2014, for between $1 and $2.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact LS Import for a full refund.

Consumers may contact LS Import Inc. collect at (713) 780-3900 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

LS Import of Houston, Texas, is recalling about 660 airplane and butterfly push toys. The wheels of the airplane and the balls at the tip of the butterfly...

Tough Treadz Auto Carrier toy sets recalled

The die-cast metal cars can have sharp edges

Family Dollar Services of Matthews, N.C., is recalling about 254,000 Tough Treadz Auto Carrier toy sets.

The die-cast metal cars can have sharp edges that pose a laceration hazard.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves a plastic toy truck with a plastic case that holds 6 die-cast metal toy cars in assorted colors. The truck is 14 inches long x 3 inches wide x 5 inches high. The cab of the truck comes in black, blue or red.

The package is labeled as “Tough Treadz Auto Carrier” and has a white sticker in the upper right-hand corner with “$5” and “SKU 1004247” printed in red. The UPC code appears on a label on the back stating “Made in China.”

The following UPC codes are included in this recall: 678565114083, 678565114090, 678565114106.

The toy sets, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Family Dollar Stores nationwide from September 2014, through December 2014, for about $5.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toy sets, take them away and return them to any Family Dollar Stores location for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Family Dollar Stores at (800) 547-0359 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Family Dollar Services of Matthews, N.C., is recalling about 254,000 Tough Treadz Auto Carrier ty sets. The die-cast metal cars can have sharp edges that ...

Giggles International recalls Animated Sing-Along Monkey toys

The battery compartment can reach temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit

Giggles International of Hong Kong is recalling about 13,000 Animated Sing-Along Monkey toys.

The battery compartment can reach temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, posing a burn hazard.

The company has received two reports of toys overheating and melting their battery compartments.

This recall involves Giggles International Animated Sing-Along Monkey toys. The monkey is made of brown and beige plush material and is about 9 inches tall. The toy is designed to hold a song book titled "5 Little Monkeys" and to sing the song when activated. A red music note is on the bottom of the monkey's right foot and the face of a child with its hands covering its eyes are on the bottom of the money's left foot.

Recalled sing-along monkeys were manufactured between 6/7/2014 and 7/5/2014 and have batch code GP1410028. The manufacture date in the M/D/YYYY format and batch code are printed on the bottom of a white fabric label attached near the base of the monkey's tail.

The monkey toys came in a tan colored box with words "Animated Sing-Along Monkey," "Sing along with me!" and "I play peek-a-boo with you!" on the front. The age advisory "For ages 3+" and the warning that batteries are included are also on the front of the box.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores nationwide from September 2014, to October 2014, for about $25.

Consumers should immediately take the animated monkey away from children, remove the batteries and return the toy to any Cracker Barrel Old Country Store or contact Giggles International for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Giggles International at (800) 738-6018 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Giggles International of Hong Kong is recalling about 13,000 Animated Sing-Along Monkey toys. The battery compartment can reach temperatures up to 230 de...

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 ...

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...

McDonald’s recalls “Hello Kitty”-themed whistles

Components inside the whistle can detach

McDonald’s Corp., of Oakbrook, Ill., is recalling about 2.5 million “Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop” whistles.

Components inside the whistle can detach, posing choking and aspiration hazards to young children.

The company has received 2 reports of children who coughed out pieces of the whistle that they had sucked into their mouths, including 1 child who received medical attention.

The recalled whistles are red and were included in a plastic “Hello Kitty” figurine holding a pink heart-shaped lollipop. The whistle can be removed and used to make sounds by inhaling or exhaling through the mouthpiece. When closed, the figurine measures about 3 inches in height and width and 1 3/4 inches in depth.

The whistle measures about 1 3/4 inches in height and width and 3/4 inches in depth. A picture of “Hello Kitty” appears on both sides of the whistle. The text “©1976, 2014 SANRIO CO., LTD.” appears above “Hello Kitty’s” face on the whistle, and “Made for McDonald’s China CCW Chine” appears below “Hello Kitty’s” face on the whistle. The bag in which the toy is packaged includes the text “Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop” and the number “6” in the upper right corner.

The whistles, manufactured in China, were distributed exclusively at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from October 2014, through the first week of November 2014, with Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals.

Consumers should immediately take the whistle away from children and return it to any McDonald’s for a free replacement toy and either a yogurt tube or a bag of apple slices.

Consumers may contact McDonald’s at (800) 244-6227 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT, 7 days a week.

McDonald’s Corp., of Oakbrook, Ill., is recalling about 2.5 million “Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop” whistles. Components inside the whistle can detach, po...

Toys R Us recalls toy toaster sets

The plastic toast can crack and break into small pieces

Toys R Us of Wayne, N.J., is recalling about 36,000 Just Like Home toy toaster sets in the U.S. and Canada.

The plastic toast, under pressure, can crack and break into small pieces creating sharp edges and posing a choking hazard.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recall includes the Just Like Home brand toy toaster sets. The teal blue plastic toy toaster has silver trim around the slice opening on top, with an orange slider handle on the side and orange 3-dimensional adjustment knob outlined with orange dots in a half moon shape on the face of the toaster in the left bottom corner. “Just like home” is printed in white on the front right bottom corner of the toaster.

The toaster measures about 4 inches high by 5-1/2 inches long by 2 inches wide. The toaster set was sold with two plastic toast slices and two plastic half bagel slice accessories. Model number 5F60589 is printed on a white label on the bottom of the toaster and above the UPC bar code in the lower right hand corner of the product packaging.

The toaster set, manufactured in China, was sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at www.toysrus.com from July 2013, through August 2014, for about $10.

Consumers should immediately take this product away from children and return it to any Toys R Us to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact Toys R Us at (800) 869-7787 anytime.

Toys R Us of Wayne, N.J., is recalling about 36,000 Just Like Home toy toaster sets in the U.S. and Canada. The plastic toast, under pressure, can crack a...

IKEA recalls children’s swings

The suspension fittings can break causing a child to fall from the swing

IKEA North America Services of Conshohocken, Pa., is recalling about 2,300 GUNGGUNG children’s swings in the U.S. and Canada.

The suspension fittings can break causing a child to fall from the swing, posing a risk of serious injury.

There have been four reports worldwide including one in Germany, two in Austria and one in Canada of the suspension fittings breaking in use. In one incident a child fell and sustained a fractured leg. No incidents have been reported in the US.

This recall involves the IKEA GUNGGUNG Swing. GUNGGUNG is intended for indoor and outdoor use by children ages 3-7. It is made of green polyester fabric and hangs from a plastic suspension fitting attached to steel hooks. The full length of the suspension strap, including the sling seat, is 17 feet and the width of the seat is 0.8 feet.

A permanent label is attached to one of the suspension straps, showing age recommendation (3-7), IKEA logo, Design and Quality IKEA of Sweden, GUNGGUNG article number 302.439.74, supplier number 17915 and Made in Vietnam.

The swings, manufactured in Vietnam, were sold exclusively at IKEA stores nationwide and online at www.ikea-usa.com in August 2014 for $20.

Consumers should immediately take down the swing to prevent use by children and return it to any IKEA store for a full refund. Proof of purchase is not required to receive a full refund for the return.

Consumers may contact IKEA toll-free at (888) 966-4532 anytime.

IKEA North America Services of Conshohocken, Pa., is recalling about 2,300 GUNGGUNG children’s swings in the U.S. and Canada. The suspension fittings can ...

Judge orders halt to import and sale of hazardous children’s products

High lead levels and choking hazards are among the alleged violations

Four California companies and six individuals have been ordered to stop importing, selling and distributing children’s products containing hazardous levels of lead and phthalates and small parts.

The injunction handed down by a federal district judge affects the following companies and individuals:

  • Toys Distribution Inc., dba TDI International, of Los Angeles and its owners Loan Tuyet Thai and Lan My Lam, and manager Paul Phuong;
  • S & J Merchandise Inc., of El Monte, Calif. and its owner Cuc T. Thai and manager Tom Liu;
  • BLJ Apparel Inc., of El Monte, Calif., and its owner Luan Luu; and
  • All Season Sales Inc., of Montebello, Calif. and its owner Tom Liu.  

The owners and managers were sued as company officials and in their individual capacity.

Laws violations charged

The federal government alleged that the firms and the individuals share significant business and/or personal ties and violated the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act by knowingly importing hazardous children’s products into the United States.

TDI and S & J Merchandise imported children’s toys with illegal lead and phthalate levels and small parts.  BLJ Apparel imported children’s products and toys with illegal levels of lead and small parts and infant rattles that could cause choking or suffocation. All Season Sales imported children’s toys with illegal lead content.  

“CPSC and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to keeping dangerous toys out of the marketplace all year long,” said Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “Manufacturers, importers and retailers need to know that CPSC and the U.S. Justice Department are actively enforcing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a law that has strengthened the nation’s product safety net.”

Testing of products

CPSC collected and tested dozens of samples of the four firms’ children’s products and toys as they attempted to enter the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach between 2008 and 2013.

The agency issued repeated Notices of Non-Compliance to the firms and their officers, notifying them that their products violated federal standards.

One of the cases resulted in a joint recall. CPSC and TDI International announced a recallof 150 “high speed” pull back toy cars in January 2009 due to excessive levels of lead in the surface paint, a violation of the federal lead paint standard. Most of the other products stopped at import were not distributed to consumers.

Four California companies and six individuals have been ordered to stop importing, selling and distributing children’s products containing hazardous levels...

Bristle Builders for Toddlers play sets recalled

The base of the three animal figures can detach

Lakeshore Learning Materials of Carson, Calif., is recalling about 2,000 Bristle Builders for Toddlers play sets.

The base of the three animal figures can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recall includes the Bristle Builders for Toddlers sets sold with 52 plastic pieces consisting of building pieces and three animal figures.

The animal figures include a yellow duck with a purple round base, a brown horse with a blue round base and a pink pig with a round green base. The building pieces include circle, rectangle, square and triangle-shaped pieces in different colors with a green 8” by 4.5” rectangle base.

Pieces are covered with plastic bristle pegs which allow all the pieces to connect. Production number EC559597 is printed on the smooth side of the green baseplate.

The play sets, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Lakeshore retail stores, Lakeshore Learning Materials’ Early Childhood catalog and online at www.lakeshorelearning.com from December 2013 to April 2014 for about $30.

Consumers should immediately take the three animal figures away from children and contact the company to receive a free replacement set of the three animal figures.

Consumers may contact Lakeshore Learning Materials at (800) 428-4414 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Lakeshore Learning Materials of Carson, Calif., is recalling about 2,000 Bristle Builders for Toddlers play sets. The base of the three animal figures can...

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...

Wal-Mart recalls dolls due to burn hazard

The circuit board in the doll's chest can overheat

Wal-Mart Stores of Bentonville, Ark., is recalling about 174,000 My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby cuddle care baby dolls.

The circuit board in the doll's chest can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

The retailer has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe.

The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging.

The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code which begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

The dolls, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide from August 2012, through March 2014, for $20.

Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Wal-Mart Stores at (800) 925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Sunday.

Wal-Mart Stores of Bentonville, Ark., is recalling about 174,000 My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby cuddle care baby dolls. The circuit board in the doll's che...

Minga Fair Trade Imports recalls wooden flipping acrobat toys

The paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead

Minga Fair Trade Imports of Lake Geneva, Wis., is recalling about 135 wooden flipping acrobat toys.

The paint on the contains excessive levels of lead, which is prohibited under federal law.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recalled flipping acrobat toys are made of painted wood and are 8.5 inches tall. The toys consist of two rectangular wooden sticks connected by a wood crosspiece near one end and a coyote, super hero, woodpecker or yellow bird wooden cartoon character suspended by nylon string at the other end.

The toys, manufactured in Peru, were sold at independent children’s stores and gift shops nationwide from September 2008, through May 2013, for about $6.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled flipping acrobat toys away from children and return them to Minga Fair Trade Imports for a full refund or credit towards a replacement product.

Consumers may contact Minga Fair Trade Imports toll-free at (855) 738-5260 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or by email at recall@mingaimports.com.

Minga Fair Trade Imports of Lake Geneva, Wis., is recalling about 135 wooden flipping acrobat toys. The paint on the contains excessive levels of lead, wh...

Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys recalled

The stuffed animals’ eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard

Ganz USA Marietta, Ga., is recalling about 8,200 plush Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys.

The stuffed animals’ eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received six reports of the eyes detaching from the Grumpy Cat toys. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves three styles of plush Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys by Ganz. They include an 8-inch Grumpy Cat in lying position, a 5-inch long sitting Grumpy Cat and a 4-inch Grumpy Cat key clip. The toys are multi-colored in white with dark brown, light brown and gray fur material. Grumpy Cat toys have blue crystal eyes with the eye lids half closed, a down-turned mouth and white whiskers. This toy is labeled for ages 3 and older. The Grumpy Cat key chain has a black plastic key clip at the top of the cat’s head. The recalled toys have batch numbers 86754 or 224861, and model numbers printed on the sewn-in label located near the tail of the cat.

The recalled toys model and batch numbers are:

Description

Model

Batch 1

Batch 2

Grumpy Cat 8" Laying

HGC12974

86754

224861

Grumpy Cat 5" Sitting

HGC12982

86754

224861

Grumpy Cat Key Clip

HGC12983

86754

224861

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at gift, drug and toy stores including hospitals, museums and gift shops nationwide from December 2013, through January 2014, for about $8 to $10.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Ganz for a free replacement Grumpy Cat product of equivalent value or a full refund.

Consumers may contact Ganz at (800) 724-5902 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Ganz USA Marietta, Ga., is recalling about 8,200 plush Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys. The stuffed animals’ eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard to yo...

Vera Bradley recalls Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny stuffed toys

The pom-pom tail can detach from the body of the bear rattle and the bunny, posing a choking hazard

Vera Bradley Designs of Fort Wayne, Ind., is recalling about 98,000 Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny stuffed toys.

The pom-pom tail can detach from the body of the bear rattle and the bunny, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The company has received two reports that the pom-pom tail detached from the product. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves all Vera Bradley Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny stuffed animal toys. The products are made of cotton and fleece. The bear ring rattle has a white teddy bear head, arms attached to an O-shaped body with a green, blue, brown and pink crisscross pattern design rattle. The bear ring rattle measures about 4.25 inches in diameter.

The bunny is 10 inches tall from the top of its head to the bottom of its foot and was sold in three printed patterns. The “Bunny in Lilli Bell” has green vines with pink and orange flowers on the body, limbs and the back of the ears. The “Bunny in Lola” has a crisscross geometric pattern on the arms, legs and ears of the white headed bunny with a floral print body. The “Bunny in Tutti Frutti” has a green with a pink and yellow floral printed pattern fabric covering whole body.

All of the recalled rattles and bunnies have a white pom-pom tail on the back of the item.

The name Vera Bradley is marked on a tag attached to each item along with the following serial numbers:

Item

Pattern

Serial No.

Bunny

Lola

007590013357145

Bunny

Lillie Bell

0000630012803140

Bunny

Tutti Frutti

0000630012803142

Bear Ring Rattle

Lola

007590013234135

The stuffed toys, manufactured in China were sold at Vera Bradley retail stores, department stores and specialty gift shops and online at www.verabradley.com and other online stores from September 2012, to January 2014, for between $12 and $19.

Consumers should immediately take them away from young children and stop using these recalled products and return them to Vera Bradley for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Vera Bradley toll-free at (888) 855-8372 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 8:30 am to 5 pm ET Saturday and Sunday.

Vera Bradley Designs of Fort Wayne, Ind., is recalling about 98,000 Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny stuffed toys. The pom-pom tail can detach from the body o...

Cork block stacking toys recalled

Small pieces of cork can break off the blocks, posing a choking hazard

A Harvest Company of Huntley, Ill., is recalling about 720 sets of Cork Stacker block sets.

Small pieces of cork can break off the blocks, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received seven reports of cork pieces breaking off of the blocks, including two reports of children putting the pieces in their mouths. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves a three-piece cork block stacking toy. Each of the square cork blocks is a different size: 2 7/8 inch by 2 7/8 inch, 2 3/8 inch by 2 3/8 inch and 2 inch by 2 inch. All of the blocks are 1 ½ inches tall and have black dots on the top. The packaging is labeled “6mo+” for use by children six months and older.

The stacking toys, manufactured in the U.S., were sold exclusively online by StorkStack.com during January 2014, as part of the January Stork Stack subscription for about $30 for a total of five products.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cork block toys and contact A Harvest Company for instructions to return the block sets for a merchandise credit.

Consumers may contact A Harvest Company toll-free at (877) 394-7774 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

A Harvest Company of Huntley, Ill., is recalling about 720 sets of Cork Stacker block sets. Small pieces of cork can break off the blocks, posing a chokin...

Infantino recalls teething toys

The tail of the monkey can pose a choking hazard

Infantino LLC, of San Diego, Calif., is recalling about 191,000 Go Gaga Squeeze & Teethe Coco the Monkey teething toys.

The tail of the monkey can pose a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received seven reports of infants choking or gagging on the monkey’s tail. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the Go Gaga Squeeze & Teethe Coco the Monkey teething toys. This squeaking toy is made of soft orange rubber and is shaped like a monkey. The toy measures 4.5 inches tall by 5 inches long and is intended for ages newborn and up. “Infantino” is marked on the back toward the rear and model number 206-647 is marked on the inside of the rear left leg

The teething toys, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide and online from December 2012, through January 2014, for about $13.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled products away from infants and contact Infantino to receive a free replacement toy.

Consumers may contact Infantino toll-free at (888) 808-3111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Infantino LLC, of San Diego, Calif., is recalling about 191,000 Go Gaga Squeeze & Teethe Coco the Monkey teething toys. The tail of the monkey can pose a ...

Midwest-CBK recalls baby rattles

The head on the rattle can detach

Midwest-CBK of Cannon Falls, Minn., is recalling about 1,900 baby rattles.

The head on the rattle can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received one report of the head on a rattle detaching. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves donut-shaped polyester knit fabric baby rattles with heads and arms to resemble a bear, monkey and a lion. They measure about 7 inches in diameter by 2 inches thick. Sweet-ums and Midwest-CBK are printed on a hang tag on the rattles. A label sewn into the rattles has Midwest-CBK, the production date 04/2013 and the batch #:00001281 printed on it.

The rattles, manufactured in China, were sold at small gift stores from July 2013, through December 2013, for about $10.

Consumers should take the recalled rattles away from young children immediately and contact Midwest-CBK for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Midwest-CBK at (800) 394-4225 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Midwest-CBK of Cannon Falls, Minn., is recalling about 1,900 baby rattles. The head on the rattle can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. ...

Oodle Swings recalled

The swing seat is suspended too close to the ground

Landscape Structures of Delano, Minn., is recalling about 177 Oodle Swings.

The swing seat is suspended too close to the ground, posing an injury hazard to children who can get their legs caught underneath.

Nine children have broken their legs or suffered sprains when their legs got caught under the swing.

This recall involves Landscape Structures’ Oodle Swings. The swing frame is a double arch, comes in a variety of colors and measures 9 ½ ft. high by 13 ½ ft. long by 4 ½ ft. wide. The swing seat is an oval-shaped ring, measures 4 ft. wide by about 3 ½ ft. deep, comes in a variety of colors and is suspended from the frame by four black cables or chains. It holds as many as six children. Landscape Structures is printed on label near ground level on the frame. The swing set’s model number 173592 is printed in the swing’s instruction manual. “Landscape Structures” is molded in the black rubber bumper of the swing seat.

The swing set, manufactured in the U.S., was sold to schools and other facilities with playground equipment nationwide from February 2011, through November 2013, for about $4,350.

Consumers should stop using the swings immediately and measure the distance between the bottom of the swing seat and the ground. If the distance is less than 12 ¾ inches, contact Landscape Structures for a free repair. The company is contacting its customers directly.

Consumers may contact Landscape Structures toll-free at (888) 438-6574 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Landscape Structures of Delano, Minn., is recalling about 177 Oodle Swings. The swing seat is suspended too close to the ground, posing an injury hazard t...

Doodlebutt recalls water-absorbing polymer toys

If swallowed, the toys can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions

Doodlebutt of Lehigh Acres, Fla., is recalling about 1,500 Jelly BeadZ Jumbo BeadZ water-absorbing polymer toys.

The soft and colorful products can be mistaken by a child for candy. When swallowed, they can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening. Similar toys have not shown up on x-rays and needed surgery to be removed from the body.

No injuries or incidents have been reported, but federal officials are aware of one incident with a similar water-absorbing polymer ball product in which an 8-month-old girl ingested the ball that had to be surgically removed, and two cases outside the U.S. with one death.

This recall involves Doodlebutt Jelly BeadZ Jumbo BeadZ and Magic Growing Fruity Fun water-absorbing polymer toys. The toys can absorb from 300 to 500 times their weight in water and can grow up to eight times their original size:

  • Jumbo BeadZ toys are marble-sized water-absorbing balls. They were sold in a package consisting of three separate 2.5-inch x 2-inch clear, resealable bags inside a 3.5-inch x 4-inch clear, resealable bag. Each smaller bag had eight to 12 water balls of slightly different sizes. The balls came in clear, blue, red, orange, yellow, green and purple colors. The front of the larger bag had a multi-colored label with the words “Jelly BeadZ,” “Easy to follow directions” and had instructions for use.
  • Magic Growing Fruity Fun toys are water-absorbing polymers in the shapes of apples, bananas, butterflies, cherries, grapes, pineapples, roses and strawberries. They were sold in 3.5-inch x 4-inch, clear, resealable bag with seven assorted shapes in it. They came in blue, green, orange, pink, red and yellow. The label on the front of the bag has the words “For ‘Kidz’ of All Ages,” “Jelly BeadZ,” “Bouncy and Beautiful,” “Colorfast,” “Non Toxic,” “Safe for the Environment,” and other words that describe uses for the product. The back of the package has two smaller labels. One label contains instructions for use and the other has a barcode with “XU00EC1JRN” beneath it.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Amazon.com from February 2012, through September 2013, for about $9.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled polymer products and take them away from small children. Consumers should contact Doodlebutt for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Doodlebutt, collect at (239) 313-9779 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or by email at whitmana@live.com.

Doodlebutt of Lehigh Acres, Fla., is recalling about 1,500 Jelly BeadZ Jumbo BeadZ water-absorbing polymer toys. The soft and colorful products can be mis...

Manhattan Group recalls baby rattles

The colored arches can break

Manhattan Group of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 12,400 Manhattan Toy Quixel baby rattles in the U.S. and Canada.

The colored arches can break, creating a small part which poses a choking hazard to small children. The company has received four reports of the rattles breaking. No injuries have been reported.

This recall includes the Manhattan Toy Quixel baby rattles, which have four, colored arches (red, orange, green and blue) with sliding beads on each of the arches. The arches are held together by a single string of red, white and blue elastic. The rattle arches measure about 5 inches in diameter. The product was sold with or without a box. “Manhattan Toy” is printed on one of the arches.

The rattles, manufactured in China, were sold at specialty toy and baby stores nationwide, in Canada and online at www.manhattantoy.com from September 2011, through October 2013, for about $15.

Consumers should immediately take these rattles away from young children and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Manhattan Group at (800) 541-1345 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Manhattan Group of Minneapolis, Minn., is recalling about 12,400 Manhattan Toy Quixel baby rattles in the U.S. and Canada. The colored arches can break, c...

K2 Sports recalls kickboards/scooters

The front assembly of the kickboards/scooters can break and the handle can detach

K2 Sports of Seattle, Wash., is recaaling about 400 K2 Revo Kick kickboards/scooters.

The front assembly of the kickboards/scooters can break and the handle can detach or partially detach, causing loss of control or loss of balance. This poses a fall hazard to the rider.

This recall involves K2 Revo Kick kickboards/scooters with item code I10700100. Revo Kick and the item code are printed on a sticker on the underside of the deck. The kickboard/scooter is made of aluminum, has three wheels, a wooden deck and a vertical handle with a round grip. The kickboards/scooters measure about 32 inches long and 40 inches high. The deck has a red, white and blue design with K2 printed on it.

The kickboards/scooters, manufactured in China, were sold at sporting goods stores nationwide and online at K2skates.com from March 2010, through September 2013, for about $200.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kickboards/scooters and contact K2 Sports for a full refund.

Consumers may contact K2 Sports toll-free at (866) 302-9996 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or by email at kickboard@k2sports.com.

K2 Sports of Seattle, Wash., is recaaling about 400 K2 Revo Kick kickboards/scooters. The front assembly of the kickboards/scooters can break and the han...

The holiday season ahead -- toy recalls down, port seizures up

Here are some tips on keeping kids safe in this time of gift-giving

With the holiday shopping season now well underway, it only make sense that more attention is being focused on toy safety.

In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued only 31 toy recalls -- none of which involved a lead violation. This compares with 172 toy recalls in fiscal year 2008 (19 of which were due to excessive lead); 50 recalls in 2009 (14 for lead); 46 recalls in fiscal year 2010 (3 for lead); 34 recalls in 2011 (4 for lead); and 38 recalls in 2012 (3 for lead). The majority of toy recalls announced last year involved ingestion hazards, including chemical and magnetic dangers.

During the past five years, CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stopped more than 9.8 million units of about 3,000 different toys that violated applicable standards. These products never made it onto store shelves and were kept out of consumers’ homes.

“When parents and grandparents walk into a toy store or visit an e-retailer, they can have confidence that the toys they see have likely been independently tested to ensure compliance with strong safety standards,” said former CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who recently retired from the commission after completing her term.

Toy-related deaths

Toy-related deaths involving children younger than 15 decreased from 19 in 2010, to 17 in 2011, and 11 in 2012 (based on reports to date). As more death reports are received, CPSC staff expects the total for 2012 to be higher than 11.

The majority of these toy-related fatalities in 2012 were attributed to riding toys, including tricycles and nonmotorized scooters. Four victims were found in swimming pools with their tricycles, and one child received a fatal head injury after his tricycle toppled over.

In addition, two fatalities were reported where children rode nonmotorized scooters into traffic and were hit by motor vehicles. Asphyxiation and aspiration were the next leading causes of toy-related fatalities, including two reports involving balloons and one report involving a stuffed animal.

Various toy injuries

A new CPSC report estimates 192,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2012 to children younger than 15 years. Many of the incidents were associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy.

For example, CPSC received these three hospital emergency-room treated reports last year:

  • A two-year-old boy who was hit in the face by a metal toy thrown by a sibling received facial lacerations.
  • A four-year-old boy hit himself in the eye with a toy dinosaur, which led to eye redness and blurred vision.
  • A seven-year-old girl fell off of a scooter and hit her mouth on the concrete and injured her mouth, including a broken tooth.

CPSC has also received reports of children injured in 2012 while using toys that broke, including:

  • A three-year-old girl who received a laceration to the foot while playing with a toy made of plastic and glass that broke.
  • A four-year-old girl who cut her wrist when a porcelain doll broke.
  • A nine-year-old girl who was riding a scooter when the handlebar broke was treated for a chin laceration.

For children under 15 years old, nonmotorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries in 2012. Frequently, these injuries involved lacerations, contusions and abrasions to the child’s face and head.

What to do

Here are some safety tips for consumers to keep in mind this holiday season:

  • Balloons -- Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately.
  • Small balls and other toys with small parts -- For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Scooters and other riding toys -- Riding toys, 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.
  • Magnets -- Children's magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that requires the magnets to be encapsulated. High-powered magnet sets have loose magnets, which is a key difference from children's magnetic toys. High-powered magnet sets 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.

Once gifts are open:

  • Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous play things.
  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
  • Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.  
With the holiday shopping season now well underway, it only make sense that more attention is being focused on toy safety. In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. C...

Toxins, magnets, choking hazards, deafening noises -- they're all waiting in Toyland

28th annual Trouble in Toyland report identifies dangerous presents that don't belong under the tree

Toys remain a central focus of the holiday season. And unfortunately, they continue to present many of the safety and health hazards documented in previous years, according to the latest Trouble in Toyland study, which again identified toxins, choking, magnets and noise as the primary hazards.

The study is the 28th annual survey of toy safety produced by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The annual report has led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years. It focuses primarily on dangers to infants and toddlers, who account for the majority of injuries from toys.

Lead and other toxins

Exposure to lead can affect nearly every organ in the body and is particularly danagerous to the central nervous system. It's particularly hazardous to young children, whose brains are still developing. The federal lead standard is 100 parts per million (ppm) but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a limit of 40 ppm.

Leading the way in lead content in the PIRG study this year is the Captain America Soft Shield, which was found to contain 29 times the legal standard for lead.

The Ninja Turtles Penicl Case was the leader in the "other toxins" category, containing 150,000 ppm of phthalates and excessive levels (600 ppm) of the toxic metal cadmium.

Choking hazards

Choking on small toy parts, balloons, balls and other small objects continues to be the major cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. More than 90 children died between 2001 and 2012 from choking. 

The PIRG investigators reported finding numerous toys that contained small parts. Some were improperly labeled as being safe for children under three. Especially hazard, PIRG said, are toy foods, which to small children look good enough to eat.

Magnets

Buckeyballs and other toys made with small magnets have been outlawed but are still available and still causing accidents. It's estimated there were 1,700 emergency room cases involving the ingestion of magnets between 2009 and 2011.

The danger with these and other small magnets is that children can swallow individual magnets, which then bind together in the gastrointestinal tract, potentially causing serious damage.

Noise

A third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it to noise and fully one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by age 12, studies have found. Much of this is attributed to using toys and other products that are simply too loud.

Prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause hearing loss, and toys that are intended to be held close to the ear -- like toy telephones -- are supposed to be limited to 65 decibels.

But the PIRG study found many toys on store shelves that exceeded those limits. The Chat & Count Smart Phone, for example, produces more than 85 decibels even though most children will hold it against their ear.

What to do

What's a gift-buying consumer to do? With so many toys on the market, there's no way anyone can produce a definitive list of safe and unsafe toys. Safety regulators aren't able to test every toy and many manufacturers and retailers find ways to skirt regulations.

So, it's up to consumers to examine toys carefully before buying them. Watch for sharp corners and edges, small parts and excessive noise. It's not quite as easy to detect toys that may contain toxins, which can be found in both metal and plastic toys. It's a good idea to have children screened for excessive lead exposure; it's a simple blood test that can be performed at the next pediatrician visit.

Here are some simple tips from PIRG: 

Bigger is better.Don't buy small toys or toys with small parts for children younger than 3 years. If a toy or part of a toy can pass through a toilet paper tube, don't buy it for a child under 3, or any child who still puts things in his or her mouth.

Never give young children small balls or balloons.Avoid balls and other spherical toys smaller than 1.75 inches in diameter (a little bit larger than a golf ball) for children under 6. Small balls, balloons and pieces of broken balloons are particularly dangerous, as they can completely block a child's airway. Never give latex balls to children younger than 8 years old.

Read and heed warning labels. Toys with small parts intended for children between ages 3 and 6 are required by law to include an explicit choking hazard warning. Read the labels of play cosmetics and avoid products containing xylene, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.

Avoid toys that contain PVC plastics. Avoid toys made of PVC plastic; the toxic phthalates these plastics can contain pose developmental hazards for children.

Test toys, vinyl products, and costume jewelry for lead.  Despite its known hazards, lead-based paints are often still used on toys and high levels of lead can be found in vinyl lunch boxes and bibs, and in children's costume jewelry. All lead should be removed from a child's environment, especially lead jewelry and other toys that can be swallowed. Use a home lead tester, such as those found at most local hardware stores, to help identify toys and costume jewelry containing this heavy metal.

Avoid toys containing powerful magnets. The powerful, small magnets used in most magnetic building toys, toy darts, magnetic jewelry, and other toys can fall out of small toys and look like shiny candy. If a child swallows more than one magnet, the magnets can attract each other in the body and cause life-threatening complications. If a child swallows even one magnet, seek immediate medical attention.

Watch out for watch or "button" batteries. Keep watch or "button" batteries away from children. If swallowed, the battery acid can cause fatal internal injuries.

If it sounds too loud, it is. Children's ears are sensitive. If a toy seems too loud for your ears, it is probably too loud for a child.

Watch out for strings and cords.

  • Keep mobiles out of the reach of children in cribs and remove them before the baby is five months old or can push themselves up.
  • Remove knobs and beads from cords longer than one foot to prevent the cords from tangling into a dangerous loop.
  • Clothing with drawstrings on the hood can get caught on fixed objects like playground equipment and pose a strangulation hazard.

Outfit your kids for safety. Toys such as bicycles, scooters, skateboards and inline skates are safer when children wear protective gear. If you plan to give any of these toys as gifts, make them safer by also giving a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.

Stay informed of recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls numerous toys and children's products each year. Check http://www.recalls.gov/ for an archive of old recalls and to sign up to receive email alerts of new recalls.

Report dangerous toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a report form on its website

The Captain America Soft Shield contains leadToys remain a central focus of the holiday season. And unfortunately, they continue to present many of the...

Step2 recalls ride-on wagon toys

The removable blue seat backs can detach

The Step2 Company of Streetsboro, Ohio, is recalling about 14,000 Whisper Ride Touring Wagons.

The removable blue seat backs can detach and allow the child in the wagon to fall out.

The company has received 29 reports of the seat back detaching, 28 of which resulted in children falling out of the wagon. Fourteen of these resulted in bumped heads and nine resulted in bruises, scratches or lacerations.

This recall involves Step2 Whisper Ride Touring Wagons. The two-seat plastic wagon is 25-inches wide by 41.25-inches long by 20-inches high with blue seats, a tan wagon base and a red canopy. The Step2 logo appears on the canopy and on the side of the wagon base.

The wagons, manufactured in the U.S., were sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com from February 2013, to August 2013, for about $130.

Consumers should immediately stop using the wagon and inspect it to determine if the seat belt is attached to the removable blue seat back. If so, the wagon is included in this recall. Consumers with the recalled wagons should contact Step2 to obtain a free repair kit.

Consumers may contact Step2 toll-free at (866) 860-1887 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

The Step2 Company of Streetsboro, Ohio, is recalling about 14,000 Whisper Ride Touring Wagons. The removable blue seat backs can detach and allow the chil...

Infinitoy Recalls Softimals toy sets

The plastic hats on playset figures pose a choking/aspiration hazard

Infinitoy, Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., is recalling about 7,134 building toy playsets.

The plastic hats on playset figures pose a choking/aspiration hazard for children. There is one reported incident in which an 18-month-old child placed a hat in his mouth and started to gag/choke but the toy was removed. No injuries have been reported

Infinitoy Inc. is recalling the Super Safari Set model #30025 and the Deluxe Circus Train Set model #30040. The model number can be found on the back of the box in the lower right corner. The sets come in a white box with “Softimals. Build, Play, Repeat” and “Ages 1 ½ to 5” printed in a colorful font on the front and back of the package.

The sets have numerous plastic pieces that can be connected and fit together to build a vehicle pulling cars with a hippo, giraffe, zebra and other animals. The drivers of the lead vehicles, Safari Sam and Mighty Mike, have removable blue or yellow plastic hats.

The playsets, manufactured in Italy, were sold at specialty toy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com and Mindware.com from September 2012, to September 2013, for about $25 and $40.

Consumers should immediately remove the plastic hat from Safari Sam and Mighty Mike and contact Infinitoy to exchange the hat for a free replacement figure.

Consumers may contact Infinitoy toll-free at (888) 558-0933 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.  

Infinitoy, Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., is recalling about 7,134 building toy playsets. The plastic hats on playset figures pose a choking/aspiration hazard...

Toys R Us recalls Journey Girl travel trunks

The blue metal handle on the trunk can be sharp

Toys R Us Inc., of Wayne, N.J. is recalling about 12,650 Journey Girl Travel trunks.

The blue metal handle on the trunk can be sharp posing a laceration hazard to the user.

This recall involves the Journey Girl Travel Trunks used to carry 18-inch-tall toy dolls. The 21-inch tall curved top trunks are purple with a blue pattern and a blue metal handle. The trunks were sold with three clothes hangers and two pull out drawers for storage.  Travel trunks included in the recall have UPC # 48970277965070 and model number 5F5F79E. The model number is printed on the bottom of the travel trunk next to the UPC code.

The company has received six reports of incidents involving the handle on the trunk, including one report of a consumer who received stitches as a result of a laceration.

This recall involves the Journey Girl Travel Trunks used to carry 18-inch-tall toy dolls. The 21-inch tall curved top trunks are purple with a blue pattern and a blue metal handle. The trunks were sold with three clothes hangers and two pull out drawers for storage.  Travel trunks included in the recall have UPC # 48970277965070 and model number 5F5F79E. The model number is printed on the bottom of the travel trunk next to the UPC code.

The trunks, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at www.toysrus.com from October 2012 through February 2013 for about $30.

Consumers should immediately stop using the travel trunk, put it out of reach of children and return it to a Toys R Us store for a full refund or store credit.

Consumers may contact Toys R Us at (800) 869-7787 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Toys R Us Inc., of Wayne, N.J. is recalling about 12,650 Journey Girl travel trunks. The blue metal handle on the trunk can be sharp posing a laceration ha...

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...

Eco-Novelty recalls Cosmo Beads toys

The toy can be easily mistaken for candy by a child

Eco-Novelty Corp., of Troy, Mich., is recalling about 3,500 Cosmo Beads Jumbo Size Colorful Water Balls and Jumbo Multipurpose Colorful Water Balls toys.

The hard and colorful toy can be easily mistaken for candy by a child. When the bead is ingested, it expands and can cause intestinal obstructions inside a child’s body, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, and could be life threatening. The toys need surgery to be removed from the body. Similar toys have not shown up on x-rays.

No incidents or injuries have been reported, although the Consumer Product Safety Commission is aware of one incident where an 8-month-old girl ingested a similar water-absorbing polymer ball that had to be removed surgically.

  • Cosmo Beads Jumbo Size Colorful Water Balls and Jumbo Multipurpose Colorful Water Balls toys are water absorbing beads that when placed in water will hydrate up to the size of a racquetball. On the front of the toy packages it states Cosmo Beads Colorful Water Balls, Just Add Water, Biodegradable, Non-toxic and Colorfast. The packages have yellow and black color on the upper left corner and red in the lower right corner. The beads can be seen through an oval, cellophane window near the bottom of the package.
  • Cosmo Beads Jumbo Size were sold as single packets of beads in various colors: clear, green, purple, red and mixed colors. Each packet contains a variety of bead sizes. The front of the Jumbo Size package has a picture of a hand holding two water balls and the words “Grows up to 600X (1.5”) Size.”
  • Cosmo Beads Jumbo Multipurpose came in three packets per set. Each packet contains beads in one size and comes in clear, dark purple and orange colors. The front of the Jumbo Multipurpose packet has a picture of flowers in a glass vase and the words “Deco Centerpiece: Toys-Games: Plant-Vacation watering.”

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Amazon.com, ifleemarket.com and crystalsoilusa.com from June 2011, through August 2013, for between $2 and $20.

Consumers should immediately take this recalled toy away from children and contact Eco-Novelty for a refund.

Consumers may contact Eco Novelty at (231) 222-4200 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or by e-mail at admin@econoveltycorp.com.

Eco-Novelty Corp., of Troy, Mich., is recalling about 3,500 Cosmo Beads Jumbo Size Colorful Water Balls and Jumbo Multipurpose Colorful Water Balls toys. ...

Be Amazing! recalls monster science growing spiders

The marble-sized toy can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions

Be Amazing! Toys of Salt Lake City is recalling about 26,500 Monster Science Growing Spider toy sets.

The soft and colorful product can be mistaken by a child for candy. When the marble-sized toy is ingested, it can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening. The toys do not show up on an x-ray and need surgery to be removed from the body.

No incidents or injuries have been reported, although the Consumer Product Safety Commission is aware of one incident where an 8-month-old girl ingested a similar water-absorbing polymer ball that had to be removed surgically.

This recall involves Monster Science Growing Spider toy sets, with model numbers 7280 and 7289. The sets contain marble-sized polymer ball “spider eggs” that can absorb from 300 to 800 times their weight in water and can grow up to eight times their original size. The sets consist of one polymer spider and three “spider eggs.”

The Be Amazing! Toys star logo and the words Monster Science Growing Spider, Ages 8+, Just drop in water, Grow Giant Spider Eggs and Eggs Grow Up to 8X Original Size are printed on the front of the packaging. The model number is on the bottom of the back of the packaging. The front and back of the packaging have warnings not to use the toy without adult supervision.

Be Amazing! announced the recall of a similar toy in August 2013.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores nationwide from August 2011, to August 2013, Spirit Halloween stores nationwide from August 2011, to November 2011, and from August 2012, to November 2012, and Target stores nationwide September to November 2012, for between $3 and $5.

Consumers should immediately take this recalled toy away from children and contact Be Amazing! Toys for a refund.

Consumers may contact Be Amazing! Toys toll-free at (877) 798-9795, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.  

Be Amazing! Toys of Salt Lake City is recalling about 26,500 Monster Science Growing Spider toy sets. The soft and colorful product can be mistaken by a ...

Toysmith recalls toy light-up frogs and ducks

A metal pin on the bottom of the toys can pose a choking hazard

Toysmith, of Sumner, Wash., is recalling about 30,000 light-up toy frogs and ducks.

The metal conductor pin on the bottom of the toys can come out, posing a choking hazard. No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall includes light-up soft plastic toy frogs and ducks. The toys light up when the sensors on the bottom of the product are touched or placed in water. The frog comes in green and the ducks come in yellow, pink and clear. The toys are approximately 2.25 inches in length and 1.5 inches in height. There is a round tag attached to the product with the UPC number 2424 5159.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Cost Plus World Market between July 2012, and December 2012, for around $3.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled products, keep them away from children and return them to place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Toysmith at (800) 356-0474 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Toysmith, of Sumner, Wash., is recalling about 30,000 light-up toy frogs and ducks. The metal conductor pin on the bottom of the toys can come out, posing...

Importer of banned children’s products draws prison time

Risks of choking, aspiration and ingestion were alleged

The president of LM Import-Export Inc., of Miami, Fla., has been sentenced to 22 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to traffic in and smuggle banned children’s products.

In addition to the jail time, Hung Lam was ordered to three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.

“The sentences handed down by the court against these repeat violators are a victory for consumers and the rule of law,” said Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “This result demonstrates how serious we are about protecting American consumers from dangerous products and defending our consumer product safety laws.”

Dangerous products

According to documents filed with and statements made in court, defendants Lam and his related corporations -- LM Import-Export Inc., Lam’s Investment Corp., and LK Toys Corporation -- conspired to sell and distribute in commerce children’s products imported from China from about April 2000 through May 2011 in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

These products allegedly presented the risk of choking, aspiration, and ingestion, and some contained lead above the allowed statutory limits. The defendants imported these products by means of false statements on custom declaration forms.  

The president of LM Import-Export Inc., of Miami, Fla., has been sentenced to 22 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to traffic in...

Spin-A-Mals farm and safari puzzles recalled

The puzzles' small pegs can pose a choking hazard

Small World Toys Enterprises, of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 4,000 Ryan’s Room brand Spin-A-Mals Farm and Spin-A-Mals Safari puzzles.

Small pegs on the puzzle boards can loosen and separate from the boards, posing a choking hazard to children. The firm has received four reports of pegs separating from puzzle boards. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled products are Ryan’s Room brand Spin-A-Mals Farm and Spin-A-Mals Safari puzzles intended for children over 12 months of age. Both toys are made of wood. The puzzles consist of a painted, rectangular board with pegs mounted to it and removable gear and animal-shaped pieces. The farm puzzle has 14 puzzle pieces including three animal pieces: a cow, a dog and a sheep. The safari puzzle has 11 puzzle pieces. Children place the pieces onto the pegs and use the knob on one of the pieces or insert an animal figure into other pieces to rotate all of the gears. The puzzle boards have “2012 Small World Toys” on the bottom right.

The puzzles, manufactured in China, were sold at Toy stores nationwide and catalogs from May 2012 through October 2012 for about $25.

Consumers should immediately take the puzzles away from children and contact Small World Toys for a free replacement toy. After contacting Small World Toys, the recalled toys should be destroyed and disposed of in a manner to prevent future use.

Consumers may contact Small World Toys at (800) 421-4153 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or by e-mail at recall@smallworldtoys.com.  

Small World Toys Enterprises, of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 4,000 Ryan’s Room brand Spin-A-Mals Farm and Spin-A-Mals Safari puzzles. Small pegs ...

Urban Shredder ride-on toys recalled

Unexpected acceleration poses a fall hazard.

Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 8,900 Urban Shredder ride-on toys.

The toys can unexpectedly accelerate and cause the rider to lose control, posing a fall hazard. The company has received 17 reports of the Urban Shredder toys accelerating. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves battery-operated Hot Wheels branded Urban Shredder ride-on toys. The toys were sold in green and black (Model Nos. 8801-05 and 8801-05com) or red and black (Model No. 8801-15) and have Hot Wheels graphics. Recalled models were manufactured on September 15, 2012, October 15, 2012, or December 1, 2012. Model number 8801-15 or 8801-05 or 8801-05com and the date of manufacture, formatted as “YYYY/MM/DD,” are printed on a data label on the underside of the Urban Shredder. The serial number can be found etched or printed on the underside of the Urban Shredder near the data label. Serial numbers included in the recall have:

  • letters “CT-EEI” followed by a six-digit number in the range of 000001 through 003075 and 010759 through 011075;
  • letters “CT-EEJ” followed by a six digit number in the range of 003076 through 010758;
  • letters “CT-CEJ” followed by a six digit number in the range of 003000 through 005000.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Target, Toys R Us and Walmart stores and online at Amazon.com, Target.com, ToysRUs.com and Walmart.com from November 2012 to February 2013 for between $270 and $350.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toy, disconnect the battery and return the shredder to the store where purchased for a refund or store credit.

Consumers may contact Dynacraft at (800) 551-0032 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 8,900 Urban Shredder ride-on toys. The toys can unexpectedly accelerate and cause the rider t...

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)...

Captain Cutlass Pirate Toy Guns Recalled

The toy is in violation of the lead paint standard

Dillon Importing of Oklahoma City is recalling about 6,970 Captain Cutlass toy pirate pistols. The surface paints on the pistols contain excessive levels of lead, a violation of the federal lead paint standard. No incidents or injuries have been reported. 

This recall involves Captain Cutlass Pirate Pistol toys with a brown plastic grip, a black metallic stock and barrel, and a muzzle with an orange cap. The double-barreled toy pistol has one trigger and two hammers. A skull and crossbones motif is engraved on the grip. 

The toy pistol, manufactured in China, was sold in Halloween and specialty stores nationwide from April 2008 through May 2012 for about $6.50. 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled pistol toys away from children and contact Dillon Importing for instructions on returning the product for a full refund. 

For additional information, call (800) 654-3696 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Dillon Importing of Oklahoma City is recalling about 6,970 Captain Cutlass toy pirate pistols. The surface paints on the pistols contain excessive levels o...

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...

Vendors Gouge Parents Over Scarce Zhu Zhu Pets

Shortage of popular toy causes price jumps

Relief is apparently on the way for frantic parents scurrying to find the hottest toy of the 2009 holiday season -- the Zhu Zhu Pet hamsters. But many buyers are finding themselves at the mercy of online vendors who are selling the toys at exorbitant prices.

The St. Louis-based Cepia LLC, maker of the popular toys, has increased production of its "smart pets," and is now turning out some 200,000 Zhu Zhu hamsters daily.

"We have ramped up production of Zhu Zhu Pets in China," said Natalie Hornsby, the company's director of marketing and brand development. "We originally worked with one major factory. We are now working with four factories."

Zhu Zhu Pet hamsters do not make a mess, never die, and have no odor. But the toys move like real hamsters and can make more than 40 different sound effects, depending on their environment. Those sounds include toilet-flushing, teeth-brushing, and even alarm-clock noises.

ConsumerAffairs.com today checked on the availability of the five different Zhu Zhu Pets online at Toys "R" Us, Target, and Wal-Mart. None of the store's Web sites had any of the toy hamsters in stock.

The toys normally retail for $9.99, but ConsumerAffairs.com discovered some online vendors are gouging consumers by charging up to six times that amount.

On Amazon.com, for example, some vendors today were selling the Zhu Zhu Pet named Mr. Squiggles, "the hamster who loves to explore," for as much as $99.99. The lowest-priced Zhu Zhu pet found was the "laid-back surfer hamster" named Chuck, who was listed at $40.95 plus $4.49 shipping.

Outraged

Hornsby said the company was upset that some vendors are exploiting the current shortage of Zhu Zhu Pets. "We do not condone the price gouging that is occurring on eBay and Amazon," Hornsby said.

But what options are there for parents trying to make their child's Christmas wish for a Zhu Zhu Pet come true?

"We are advising consumers to call retailers and check for shipment dates," Hornsby said. "Typically you have the best chance to get a Zhu Zhu pet if you arrive just before store opening."

Toys "R" Us said it will continue to receive Zhu Zhu Pets throughout December. Company spokeswoman Jennifer Albano also said customers can sign up for e-mail alerts to notify them when Zhu Zhu pets are available in stores.

"On Saturday, we did send out an e-mail to alert customers to the availability of the pets at stores nationwide on Sunday," Albano said.

But customers who received that e-mail learned they had to be one of the first 50 shoppers at their local Toys "R" Us store on Sunday, in order to "have the opportunity" to buy a Zhu Zhu Pet.

"On Black Friday, we also had 100 Zhu Zhu pets at each store at midnight," Albano said. "And we did get additional pets throughout the day. We are getting more shipments."

"My daughters wanted them"

But that news comes a few days late for a Missouri mom who paid considerably more than the retail price to get the pets.

Christy M., of Kansas City, didn't want to risk disappointing her two young daughters on Christmas morning. "I paid $30 a piece and bought two of them," she said.

Christy also paid $40 for a Zhu Zhu Pet house. "It's okay, though. My daughters wanted them," she said.

Cepia introduced Zhu Zhu pets to the country in August 2009. The company initially held special promotions during major league baseball games and asked celebrities to deliver the toys to various children's hospitals. Since then, Zhu Zhu Pets have become a craze among kids nationwide.

"We are humbled by our success," Hornsby said, "and thank consumers for their incredible support."



Vendors Gouge Parents Over Scarce Zhu Zhu Pets...

More Kids' Products Found Containing Unsafe Chemicals

PIRG tests toys in Chicago, finds lead and contaminants

Consumer advocates in Illinois have discovered some toys and other children's products sold in Chicago-area stores violate current safety standards for lead or contain illegal chemicals.

Researchers with the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) tested 87 different children's products -- including toys, jewelry, and Halloween accessories -- for lead, bromine, and other toxic chemicals like phthalates.

Test results released this week in a report titled "Chemical Compliance: Testing for Toxics in Children's Products" revealed two products contained phthalates. Those are a family of chemicals banned earlier this year by the federal government.

Phthalates can cause reproductive defects in men and women, premature birth, early onset puberty for young girls, and lower sperm counts in men, according to PIRG officials. Children are more susceptible to these health effects, PIRG said, because their bodies are still developing.

Dangerous toys

The two children's products found containing what PIRG called "actionable levels of phthalates" that violate federal law are:

The Little Princess handbag: Tests on the purse, purchased at Claire's Boutique, revealed it contained the phthalate chemical DEHP at 54000 ppm and DINP at 2200 ppm;

Elmo's Lunch Box: Tests revealed the lunch box contained 730 ppm of the phthalate chemical DEHP and 72,000 ppm of the phthalate DIDP.

Illinois researchers, who partnered with HealthyStuff.org in these tests, also discovered six children's products with levels of lead that exceeded the current 300 parts per million (ppm) allowed by federal law.

Those toys, jewelry, and Halloween accessories include:

• Marvel Hot Rodz: Tests revealed the top of a car and Spider-Man's head contained 1,940 parts ppm of lead and 380 ppm of the chemical bromine;

• A painted duck: Tests revealed the duck's face contained 2,215 ppm of lead and 306 ppm of arsenic. The duck's red jacket contained 1,545 ppm of lead and 247 ppm of arsenic;

• Pink diamond clip on earrings from Claire's: Tests revealed the dangling section of the earrings contained 26,932 ppm of lead;

• A Knight's helmet Halloween costume: Tests revealed the top, painted part of the helmet contained 384 ppm of lead, 38 ppm of arsenic, and 207 ppm of bromine;

• LOVE Pink Block Cell Phone (Halloween) Accessory from Claire's: Tests revealed the product contained 7,637 ppm of lead;

• Alligator Cell Phone Charm from Claire's: Tests revealed this Halloween accessory contained 282,439 ppm of lead.

PIRG officials said these are the first tests done on children's products since the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA) required the amount of lead allowed to decrease from 600 parts per million (ppm) to 300 ppm by August 15, 2009.

The new law, which also bans the use of six phthalates in toys, requires lead levels in children's products to drop to 100 ppm by August 2011.

Toys and other children's products tainted with lead pose a serious health concern, PIRG officials said, because the chemical can harm nearly every organ in the body, attack the central nervous system, lead to permanent brain and behavioral damage, or even cause death.

Although some of the toys tested contained dangerous toxins, PIRG officials said the results are still encouraging.

"After the wave of record recalls of dangerous toys just two years ago, we're glad to see that most of the toys we tested are in compliance with the law," said Brian Imus, director of Illinois PIRG. "But not all toys are safe and we must do more to prevent toxic toys from ending up on store shelves."

The group's report echoed those sentiments. "The testing conducted is but a small sample of the toys and other children's products currently on the market," the report states. "However, based on this small sample, it is good to see the vast majority of products meeting current safety regulations...but, there should be no products available on store shelves that violate current lead and phthalate standards."

"Overwhelming weight of evidence"

Lead and phthalates, however, aren't the only worrisome chemicals in children's products, the report said. "Cadmium, brominated flame retardants and Bisphenol-A all pose a threat to the growth and development of children," the report noted. "Yet these chemicals and others are being used in toys, baby bottles, and other children's products."

PIRG Public Health Advocate Liz Hitchcock said the government should expand the number of chemicals it regulates in toys.

"Tougher lead safety standards and a ban on phthalates may be making toys safer, but there are other harmful chemicals commonly found in children's products that are not regulated," she said.

One of those chemicals is bromine, which is widely used in children's products. Studies have shown damaging impacts to the thyroid and motor and memory skills from this chemical, Hitchcock said.

To ensure the safety of children's products, PIRG officials called on state and federal policy-makers to take the following action:

• Phase out dangerous chemicals: "The federal government must act based on the overwhelming weight of evidence showing that some chemicals might harm human health," the report states. "Manufacturers should be required to remove chemicals that may pose a particular threat to fetuses, infants, and children, particularly when the chemical is not necessary for the product to function according to design."

• Reform chemical policies: PIRG officials said manufacturers can now put chemicals on the market without proving they are safe. "Manufacturers should be required to provide all hazard and health-impact information to the state and federal government so agencies can begin to assess the thousands of chemicals currently on the market for which little or inadequate data are available," the report states.

• Inform consumers about the dangerous chemicals: PIRG officials said manufacturers should be required to label products with the names of dangerous chemicals. That action would allow parents to choose less toxic products;

• Give financial support to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). "Congress should fully fund this important agency so that it may utilize the new authority and responsibility that it was given in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act," the report states.

PIRG officials bought the toys it tested from four retailers in Chicago: Target, Toys R' Us, Claire's Boutique, and Dollar Tree.

All of the group's test results are posted on HealthyStuff.org's Web site, a national database of more than 5,000 products tested for toxic chemicals.

HealthyStuff.org is a project of the Michigan-based Ecology Center, which has spearheaded research on toxins in toys, cars, pet toys, and children's car seats. The non-profit environmental group annually tests toys for lead and other toxins.



More Kids' Products Found Containing Unsafe Chemicals...

Mattel Settles Suits Over Dangerous Toys

Company agrees to consumer reimbursement, stricter quality control

By Jon Hood
ConsumerAffairs.com

October 15, 2009
Mattel announced Tuesday that it has agreed to settle a group of cases arising from the company's recalls of millions of dangerous toys. The settlement, filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, would put to rest 22 consolidated cases stemming from the massive 2007 recalls, which implicated toys containing lead paint and magnets that could harm children if swallowed.

Under the terms of the agreement, customers who participated in the recalls will receive either $10 or 50 percent of the value of recall vouchers, whichever is greater. After Mattel initiated the recalls, consumers with defective toys received vouchers for the product's retail value. The settlement will allow those consumers another bite of the apple.

Class members who didn't take part in the recalls, but who have an eligible toy or proof that they once owned one, will receive either a check or a voucher for the amount they originally paid. Consumers who destroyed a recalled toy are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to three items. Class members may also recoup money they spent for lead testing, with up to $600,000 of the settlement set aside for that purpose.

A statement from Whatley Drake & Kallas, one of the firms representing the plaintiffs, said the settlement amounts to "tens of millions of dollars in monetary relief."

The recalls, announced in August 2007, shone an uncomfortable spotlight on the toy industry and raised questions about manufacturing oversight and quality control. On August 2, 2007, Mattel recalled 967,000 toys contaminated with lead paint. That recall implicated 83 separate products, including Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street-themed toys. Two weeks later, on August 14, Mattel simultaneously recalled 436,000 die-cast toy cars covered with lead paint and a shocking 18.2 million toys containing small magnets that posed dangers if swallowed.

The recalls also furthered concerns about the safety of foreign-made products. All of the recalled items were manufactured in China, and the incidents followed recalls of pet food implicating Chinese-manufactured ingredients. Even before the 2007 incidents, Mattel had initiated 16 recalls in a 10-year span.

Tests showed that, in some cases, the level of lead in affected toys was 180 times the legal limit of 0.06 percent. To put things in perspective, that means the toys' lead level was twice that allowed before lead house paint was banned.

A number of the recalled products contained tiny magnets with an unfortunate habit of falling out of the toys. The magnets were so small -- some measuring an eighth of an inch in diameter -- that parents often didn't notice them. If a child swallowed more than two, the magnets could attract one another and cause potentially fatal internal perforation. Three children were seriously injured when they swallowed more than one magnet, according to a recall notice by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The commission received over 170 incident reports of magnets falling out.

After the recalls were announced, in an apparent attempt at damage control, Mattel CEO Bob Eckert took out a full-page ad in several nationwide newspapers touting the company's "long record of safety" and assuring parents that "nothing is more important than the safety of our children."

The recalls were so extensive that Mattel had to set up a separate website to guide consumers through the process. That site includes links to the original recall announcement and a "recall brochure," an eight-page document with labeled pictures of recalled toys and a table listing affected date codes and the voucher amount for recalled toys. The incidents prompted Congress to pass new legislation that essentially banned lead in toys.

In addition to consumer reimbursement, Mattel has agreed to donate $275,000 to the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions and to set up a stricter quality-control process. Specifically, Mattel is required to annually verify to the court that it is meeting certain benchmarks, and to comply with new federal regulations and rules created by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

The settlement, which will require final court approval, follows Mattel's decision last year to pay $12 million to end investigations by a number of states into the recalls.



Mattel Settles Suits Over Dangerous Toys...

Judge Orders Feds to Stop Sale of Toxin-Laden Toys

Safety agency had looked the other way as phthalate-laden toys remained on shelves

By Truman Lewis
ConsumerAffairs.com

February 6, 2009
A New York federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must see that toys containing phthalates are removed from stove shelves after a ban takes effect next week.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen filed suit against the CPSC last December, after the commission created a loophole in the congressionally mandated ban that is effective Feb. 10.

The loophole would have allowed retailers to stockpile and continue selling dangerous products as long as they were manufactured before the ban's effective date.

Judge Paul G. Gardephe said the law banning phthalates "provides unequivocally and unambiguously that no covered products may be sold as of Feb. 10, 2009."

"Its the job of the CPSC to protect us from harmful products, yet they have done the exact opposite in this case — creating legal loopholes where they did not exist," said Aaron Colangelo, NRDC attorney. "Theyve strayed from their basic mandate to protect consumers."

Toy manufacturers say the ruling will cost them million hundreds of millions of dollars but consumer advocates said children's health is more important than corporate profits.

"Parents want to know that the toys theyre purchasing are safe — its not too much to ask," said Dr. Sarah Janssen, NRDC scientist. She said the CPSC was "ignoring the will of Congress and threatening our childrens health."

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics in many common consumer products, including childrens toys. The chemicals are known to interfere with production of the hormone testosterone, and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities.

Numerous animal studies have linked prenatal exposure to certain phthalates with decreases in testosterone, malformations of the genitalia, and reduced sperm production.

In response to heightened concern about risks to children from certain harmful phthalates and other chemicals in childrens products, Congress, by an overwhelming majority, passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was signed into law by President Bush on August 14, 2008. This Act permanently bans the sale, after February 10, 2009, of toys and child care products that contain certain phthalates and lead. The final Senate vote for this ban was 89-3, and the final House vote was 424-1.

The law passed in the U.S. bans the same six phthalates that have been banned in European toys for nearly 10 years. Other countries, including Argentina, Japan, Israel and Mexico have also banned phthalates from childrens toys. Several major retailers have previously announced that, by the end of 2008, they would remove phthalate-containing toys from their stores.

Fast action

The commission — which routinely takes months to respond to even the simplest inquiry from the press and the public — acted quickly when the law firm Arent Fox, on behalf of unidentified corporate clients, asked it to apply the U.S. ban only to the production — and not the sale — of toys with phthalates.

In a legal opinion published only two business days later, on November 17, 2008, the CPSC General Counsel agreed, saying that manufacturers could stockpile toys and child care products with the banned phthalates right up to the date of the ban, and then sell them to consumers long after the ban was supposed to go into effect.

"Selling millions of toxic toys to kids is not the way to dispose of them, as the law clearly states," said David Arkush, director of Public Citizens Congress Watch division which, along with NRDC, was heavily involved in lobbying Congress for stronger product safety rules. "Its not only immoral — its illegal. It is horrifying that the federal agency charged with protecting consumers is telling the industry it can dump chemical waste on toy-store shelves."



Judge Orders Feds to Stop Sale of Toxin-Laden Toys...

Toxic Toy Tests Show High Chemical Contamination

Ecology Center's research show one in three toys are potential threats


Tests on more than 1,500 popular toys reveal one in three contain "medium" or "high" levels of chemicals that could pose a threat to children.

And at least 20 percent of the toys tested by the Michigan-based Ecology Center contained lead — some with levels well about the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint.

Researchers at the non-profit Ecology Center tested the toys for such chemicals as lead, arsenic, and other harmful chemicals just in time for this year's holiday shopping season.

This is the second year in a row the center has tested toys for toxins that are associated with developmental and learning disabilities, reproductive problems, and cancer.

While these latest results may frighten parents — who haven't forgotten the millions of lead-tainted toys recalled last year — the tests actually show some signs of improvement.

"This is a good news, bad news story," the center's Jeff Gearhart told us today. "We did find 50 percent fewer toys (this year) with lead of over 600 ppm. Overall, we saw a reduction in the number of products of high concern.

"It's also good news that two-thirds of the products tested had lower or no detectable levels of chemicals," he added. "So we're trending in the right direction. But we're not ready to declare victory. There are still far too many toys out there with chemicals in them and this is still a significant issue."

Consider some of the center's findings:

Lead is still a problem: Twenty-percent of the toys tested contained lead, including 54 products (3.5 percent) that exceeded the current 600 ppm recall threshold for lead-based paint. Disney's Hannah Montana "2 Hearts and HM graphic Necklace," for example, contained 406,510 ppm of lead. Lead level above 600 (ppm) will exceed the new legal limit set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which take effect in February. That means some of the toys on the shelf this holiday season would be illegal to sell two months from now, the center said. Health experts say lead can cause irreversible developmental and nervous system problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 40 ppm of lead as the maximum allowed in children's products;

China's not the only problem: The center's tests did not find a consistent link between the country where a toy was manufactured and the presence of toxic chemicals. Its tests revealed 21 percent of toys from China and 16 percent of toys from all other countries had detectable levels of lead. Seventeen toys made in the U.S. were tested and 35 percent of those had detectable levels of lead. Two of those toys had levels above 600 ppm. A US-made Halloween pumpkin pin contained 190,943 ppm of lead;

Lead isn't the only chemical: A significant number of toys contained other chemicals, including cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and bromine. Forty-five (2.9 percent) products contained bromine at concentrations of 1,000 ppm or higher. "This indicates the likely use of brominated flame retardants — chemicals that may pose hazards to children's health," the center said. Tests also found arsenic at levels greater than 100 ppm in 22 (1.4 percent) toys; 289 (18.9 percent) toys contained detectable levels of arsenic. Cadmium was also detected in levels above 100ppm in 30 (1.9 percent) toys; 38 (2.4 percent) contained detectable levels of cadmium. And mercury was found in levels higher than 100 ppm in 14 (1 percent) toys; 62 (4.2%) contained detectable levels of mercury;

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC / Vinyl) in toys: Twenty-seven percent of the toys tested (excluding jewelry) were made with PVC. The center says PVC may contain additives, including phthalates, that may pose hazards;

Jewelry Problems: Jewelry remains the most contaminated product category tested and tops the center's "worst" list. Children's jewelry is five-times more likely to contain lead above 600 ppm than other products, the center found. Fifteen percent of the jewelry tested (compared to 3 percent of other products) had lead levels above 600 ppm. "Overall, jewelry is twice as likely to contain detectable levels of lead as other products," the center said. "Numerous Hannah Montana brand jewelry items tested high for lead." The center now recommends that consumers avoid buying low cost children's jewelry.

Despite these grim findings, there is still some positive news for consumers.

The Center's tests, for example, found 62 percent (954) of the toys contained low levels of chemicals.

And 21 percent (324) of all products contained no chemicals of concern. Some of the center's "best toys" include the Autobot Classic Series: Red Alert and Hot Shot Transformers and Hasbro's Luke Skywalker & R2-D2 Star Wars figures.

"These products look and feel no different than other children's products on the shelf," the center said. "These findings show that manufacturers can and should make toys free of unnecessary toxic chemicals."

The Center used a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer to test the toys. This identifies the elemental composition of materials on or near the surface of the toys.

The Center's started testing toys last year in response to parents' overwhelming demand for information about toxic chemicals in toys.

Parents can now go to the center's Web site and find the test results on any of the toys tested.

"Our Web site is designed as a tool to get more information to parents who are looking at toys," said Gearhart, who spearheaded the project. "It's a way to give them a snapshot of what's in a product they're buying."

Besides educating parents, Gearhart said his organization also hopes to "fire up" consumers and get them interested in changing how these products are regulated.

"What consumers are finding out is that the regulatory structure now in place isn't adequate to assure that our products are safe."

"There is simply no place for toxic chemicals in children's toys," he added. Our hope is that by empowering consumers with this information, manufacturers and lawmakers will feel the pressure to start phasing out the most harmful substances immediately, and to change the nation's laws to protect children from highly toxic chemicals."



Toxic Toy Tests Show High Chemical Contamination...

Lawsuit Seeks Immediate Ban on Toxic Toys

Safety agency looks other way as phthalate-laden toys remain on shelves


The Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen today sued the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to keep unsafe childrens toys and childcare products, laden with harmful chemicals called phthalates, off store shelves this winter.

This lawsuit follows a recent decision by the CPSC to create a loophole in the congressionally mandated ban that is effective Feb. 10, 2009. The loophole allows retailers to stockpile and continue selling dangerous products as long as they were manufactured before the ban date. NRDC and Public Citizen filed the suit against the CPSC in federal court in New York.

"The Consumer Product Safety Commission is ignoring the will of Congress and threatening our childrens health," said Dr. Sarah Janssen, NRDC scientist. "Overwhelming evidence led Congress to ban these toys, a ban that some retailers have already started to adopt. The CPSC decision completely undermines those efforts by allowing banned toys to sit on the same shelves as the safe ones."

"Parents want to know that the toys theyre purchasing are safe - its not too much to ask," Janssen said. "We cant allow CPSC to continue this confusion at the checkout aisle."

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics in many common consumer products, including childrens toys. The chemicals are known to interfere with production of the hormone testosterone, and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities. Numerous animal studies have linked prenatal exposure to certain phthalates with decreases in testosterone, malformations of the genitalia, and reduced sperm production.

In response to heightened concern about risks to children from certain harmful phthalates and other chemicals in childrens products, Congress, by an overwhelming majority, passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was signed into law by President Bush on August 14, 2008. This Act permanently bans the sale, after February 10, 2009, of toys and child care products that contain certain phthalates and lead. The final Senate vote for this ban was 89-3, and the final House vote was 424-1.

The law passed in the U.S. bans the same six phthalates that have been banned in European toys for nearly 10 years. Other countries, including Argentina, Japan, Israel and Mexico have also banned phthalates from childrens toys. Several major retailers have previously announced that, by the end of 2008, they would remove phthalate-containing toys from their stores.

Fast action

In a letter dated November 13, 2008, the law firm Arent Fox, on behalf of unidentified clients, asked the CPSC to only apply the U.S. ban to the production — and not the sale — of toys with phthalates.

In a legal opinion published only two business days later, on November 17, 2008, the CPSC General Counsel agreed. As a result, manufacturers can stockpile toys and child care products with the banned phthalates right up to the date of the ban, and then sell them to consumers long after the ban was supposed to go into effect.

"Selling millions of toxic toys to kids is not the way to dispose of them, as the law clearly states," said David Arkush, director of Public Citizens Congress Watch division which, along with NRDC, was heavily involved in lobbying Congress for stronger product safety rules. "Its not only immoral - its illegal. It is horrifying that the federal agency charged with protecting consumers is telling the industry it can dump chemical waste on toy-store shelves."

"Its the job of the CPSC to protect us from harmful products, yet they have done the exact opposite in this case - creating legal loopholes where they did not exist," said Aaron Colangelo, NRDC attorney. "Theyve strayed from their basic mandate to protect consumers."



Lawsuit Seeks Immediate Ban on Toxic Toys...

'Protocol' Toy Helicopters Recalled

September 10, 2008    
About 78,000 Protocol Remote-Controlled Mini Helicopter Toys are being recalled. The rechargeable battery inside the helicopter can overheat. This can result in the helicopters body melting, as well as a risk of fire or burns to consumers.

There have been nine reports of incidents of the helicopter overheating, including one minor burn to a consumers fingertip.

This recall involves the Protocol remote-controlled mini helicopter toys with model number starting with 1442. The helicopter is made of foam and plastic and measures about 7 inches long. Protocol is printed on the tail and on the side of the helicopter. 1442-X can be found on the packaging. The remote-control component measures 5 1/2 inches by 4 3/4 inches.

The toys, made in China, were sold at retail stores nationwide from October 2007 through December 2007 for between $30 and $50.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact the firm for information on how to receive a replacement helicopter.

For additional information, contact Protocol at (800) 261-1193 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET, or visit the companys Web site at www.protocoldesign.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

'Protocol' Toy Helicopters Recalled...

Bush Signs Consumer Safety Bill

Sweeping legislation provides for safer toys, more effective recalls, stronger enforcement

By Joseph S. Enoch
ConsumerAffairs.com

August 14, 2008
President Bush today signed sweeping new consumer legislation intended to make toys and common consumer products safer, make recalls more effective and give more authority to federal and state enforcement agencies.

"With the stroke of a pen, President Bush today signed my legislation allowing for sweeping reforms to begin taking place that will keep toxic toys and other dangerous products out of our homes," said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), the bill's primary sponsor.

"First and foremost, this new law hands back the reigns to the CPSC, our consumer watchdog agency, by giving it the necessary authority and resources to patrol todays global marketplace. We also require more responsibility from manufacturers and retailers, and stiffen the penalties if they fail to meet higher safety standards," Pryor said. "From the factory floor to the store shelves, there are dozens more new safeguards that weve built in place to prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities. I truly believe this is a great bill for the American consumer."

The measure gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) far more funding, staff and authority but does not appropriate any more money to carry out the new mandates. Congress is expected to act on that when it returns from its summer recess.

Consumer groups rushed to applaud Bush's action.

This new product safety law is responsive to the mounting evidence and dire consequences of our broken product safety net. This bill patches up our current system by giving the CPSC the resources, regulatory authority and enforcement tools it needs to protect consumer from hazards posed by unsafe products, stated Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. We applaud Congress and the President for supporting this critical reform and urge the CPSC to implement this law effectively.

"This is a huge victory for consumers over big business," said David Arkush, Director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "This law puts safety first by making new and important changes, like requiring that toys be tested for safety before they are sold and creating an Internet database where consumers can share information about dangerous products."

The measure — officially known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 — passed the House on July 30, 2008 by a vote of 424-1 and the Senate on July 31, 2008 by a vote of 89-3.

It requires that toys and infant products be tested before they are sold, and by banning lead and phthalates in toys. The bill also will create the first comprehensive publicly accessible consumer complaint database, give the CPSC new resources to protect the public, increase civil penalties that CPSC can assess against violators of CPSC laws, and protect whistleblowers who report product safety defects.

Six types of phthalates, chemicals linked to genital defects in males, have been banned from toys along with lead. Also, toys will be required to follow a complex list of rules intended to make them safer.

The phthalate provision makes three phthalates permanently illegal and three others temporarily illegal until the CPSC can determine whether the chemicals are safe or dangerous. More details on the complex legislation can be found here.

The bill boosts the beleaguered CPSC, which many blamed for failing consumers during 2007, a year that had a record number of recalls. The agency's funding will double by 2014 and state attorneys general will be empowered to enforce safety laws in their states.

This long-overdue law gives the CPSC the shot in the arm that it desperately needs, said Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel with Consumers Union. It is now up to the CPSC to use the tools given to them by this law, and restore the confidence of consumers in the products on store shelves, added Gadhia.

Protecting Americas littlest consumers better was always a good idea, but now its the law, said U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski. We look forward to working with a stronger CPSC with more tools at its disposal. U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate Liz Hitchcock added, We especially appreciate the visionary features of the new law, such as its ban on toxic phthalate chemicals in childrens products and its creation of a revolutionary new publicly-accessible database of potential hazards.



New consumer legislation intended to make toys and common consumer products safer, make recalls more effective and give more authority to federal and state...

Rock 'N Ride Plush Rocker Toys

March 27, 2008    
Tek Nek Toys is recalling about 122,000 Rock 'N Ride plush rocker toys. The base of the rocker can become unstable and allow the rocker to tip forward or backward, posing a fall hazard to children.

Tek Nek Toys has received 35 reports of the rockers tipping over, including ten reports of injuries such as bumps, bruises and lacerations.

This recall involves Rock 'N Ride plush rocker toys sold in eight models: brown pony, pink pony, pink unicorn, deluxe pony, deluxe bull, lil' penguin, lil' propeller plane and Clifford big red rocker. The toys have molded plastic rocker bases and were sold for children at least 18 months old and up to 65 lbs. A button on the toy's ear, hat or dash activates songs and phrases when pressed. Rockers included in this recall have a date code from July 26, 2007 through December 29, 2007. The date codes are printed on a sticker inside the battery compartment.

The toys were sold at Wal-Mart, Toys 'R' Us, Kmart, Target, Atwoods, and Pamida stores nationwide and Internet retailers from September 2007 through March 2008 for about $30. They were made in China.

Consumers should immediately take the rocker toys away from young children and contact Tek Nek Toys for a free replacement base.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Tek Nek Toys toll-free at (888) 686-2728 anytime, or visit the firm's Web site at www.teknektoys.com.

More photos are available on the CPSC site.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Rock 'N Ride Plush Rocker Toys...

War on Plastic Toys Escalates

Toys 'R' Us joins effort to eliminate PVC, phthalates and lead

February 18, 2008    Spanish
Following moves by some of its rivals like Wal-Mart and Target, Toys "R" Us has announced its own policy to reduce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, phthalates, and lead in children's and infant toys.

The company said it is reducing PVC use and is moving towards a goal of offering PVC-free products.

The toy retailer also announced that by the end of 2008, juvenile products must be produced without the addition of phthalates.

"Toys"R"Us' new PVC-free goal is good news for our children's health, safety, and well being," said Michael Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. "PVC toxic toys often contain dangerous chemicals such as phthalates and lead.

"These toxic chemicals have no place in our children's toys and should be eliminated from store shelves everywhere they are currently sold so that no potential harm comes to any child who might otherwise come into contact with them. We call on Toys "R"Us to take the next step by setting clear benchmarks and timeframes for phasing out toxic PVC toys in order to prevent harm to our children's health," he said.

CHEJ and other consumer groups have been applying growing pressure on Toys R Us to phase out PVC and other harmful chemicals in their toys. The groups say their efforts have been aimed at educating retailers about the dangers of PVC. Sears, Kmart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple have recently announced initiatives to eliminate or reduce PVC in both products and packaging.

Banned in Europe

Some of the chemicals, including PVC, have been banned from toys in the European Union and California is also said to be considering a law making them illegal effective next year.

The development comes on the heels of toymakers recalling millions of toys to protect consumers from lead paint exposure.

What is interesting in this development is that the tradegroup that represents toymakers, The Toy Industry Association, has continued to maintain that PVC causes no harm to children, even as many of the group's members are quietly preparing to take such products off the shelves in the coming months.

In fact the first indications of what toys without PVC would look like will be unveiled this coming weekend when manufacturers attending the world's largest toy trade show, the American International Toy Fair, start showing up New York.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Green Toys Inc., a San Francisco-based start-up, will unveil several lines of toys made from organic and recycled plastics. The company has backing from several eco-friendly venture capital firms who see a huge marketing bonanza from the latest controversy and its offerings.

"Depending on how it is made, PVC frequently contains lead or other toxic metals. Vinyl chloride, used to make PVC, has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a carcinogen. Certain chemicals in the phthalate family, which often are used to soften PVC in toys and other products, have been linked by researchers to developmental and other health problems in children," says the Journal in a report this week.

In January, under pressure from Illinois authorities, Ty Inc., the maker of Beanie Babies, replaced its Jammin' Jenna dolls with a redesigned version using denim shoes instead of PVC ones. Testing had found the vinyl contained quantities of lead that exceeded the state's limit for children's products under a new law.

Last month, tests by the Center for Environmental Health found high levels of lead in several products, including certain vinyl coolers used for storing breast-milk bottles. Michigan also has a new law restricting lead levels in children's products, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, pro-Vinyl groups are not giving up their campaign to prove their products are safe. The Vinyl Institute, a trade group, is launching a campaign to inform retailers that PVC is safe.



War on Plastic Toys Escalates...

Tests Find More Toxic Pet Toys

Toxic toys may be hazardous to humans as well as pets

Concerns about toxins in pet toys -- the focus of a ConsumerAffairs.com investigation in September -- continue to be raised nationwide.

The latest concerns surfaced in a recent investigation by WFLD-TV in Chicago, which had a private laboratory test 15 Chinese-made pet products for lead.

Tests conducted by Trace Laboratories, Inc. of Palatine, Illinois, revealed the ink logo on a Paws 'N Claws tennis ball for dogs contained 27,200 parts per million of lead. That's 45 times higher than the national level allowed for lead paint in children's toys. Federal law sets that limit at 600 parts per million.

There are, however, no national standards for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

Trace Laboratories also analyzed a ceramic pet bowl and discovered the paint on the bottom of that product contained 2,890 parts per million of lead nearly five times the 600 parts per million benchmark.

"I was surprised (by these results) because of all the exposure right now regarding lead in toys," Mitchell Sas, general manager of Trace Laboratories, told us. "You'd think suppliers would be more cautious and get an independent lab (to test the products)."

WFLD purchased the pet products from a Dollar General store and said it could not reach the manufacturers.

The station's tests come on the heels of a recent ConsumerAffairs.com investigation that brought the issue of toxins in pet toys to light.

Standards needed

Our investigation also triggered calls for national "acceptable standards and levels" for lead and other toxins in pet toys from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, veterinarians, and dog and cat owners across the country.

Earlier this month, the director of the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also urged pet toy makers to test their products and publicly disclose their findings.

As we reported, we hired a private laboratory in Texas to analyze four Chinese-made pet toys -- two for dogs and two for cats -- for lead and four other heavy metals.

ExperTox Inc. Analytical Laboratory discovered one of the dog toys -- a latex one that looks like a green monster -- contained what the lab's forensic toxicologist called high levels of lead and the cancer producing agent chromium.

A cloth catnip toy also tested positive for "a tremendous amount" of the toxic metal cadmium. Two veterinarians, however, told us the levels of toxic metals in the toys did not pose a health risk to dogs or cats.

ExperTox also analyzed two other Chinese-made pet toys a cloth hedgehog for dogs and a plastic dumbbell toy for cats. The lab detected cadmium in those toys, but said the levels were "about the amount you'd find in one cigarette" and not considered significant.

We purchased the toys from a Wal-Mart in Kansas City, Missouri. All the toys had a tag attached that read "Marketed by Wal-Mart stores and Made in China."

The levels of lead and other toxins in the dog and cat toys we tested were significantly lower than those found in the pet products Trace Laboratories analyzed. Nonetheless, ExperTox's forensic toxicologist called his lab's findings concerning and even suggested that Wal-Mart pull the products off the market.

"Or put a warning label on them that says if you put this (toy) in your mouth you will get poisoned," Dr. Ernest Lykissa, a forensic toxicologist and director of ExperTox, told us. "There is nothing good about the agents (in these toys) that I'm reporting to you."

Green monster

The green monster toy, Dr. Lykissa said, contained 907.4 micrograms per kilogram of lead.

"That's almost one part per million," he said. "With that kind of concentration, if a dog is chewing on it or licking it, he's getting a good source of lead."

The green monster toy also contained what Dr. Lykissa considered high levels of 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."

ExperTox also detected other toxic metals in the green monster toy.

"There's cadmium, arsenic, and mercury in there," Dr. Lykissa said. "This is not a clean toy. This is toxic. Bank on it."

ExperTox's tests on the catnip toy detected "concerning" levels of cadmium 236 micrograms per kilogram. "That one is worrisome to me," Dr. Lykissa said. "That's a big number. It's a good dose of cadmium."

Toxins come right off

There's another reason Dr. Lykissa expressed concerns about the heavy metals in these chew toys.

"These (toxic) materials came off the toys freely, like with the lick of the tongue from a dog or cat," he said. "They were readily liberated from these toys. We didn't take a sledge hammer and pound on them. I just did what a dog or cat would do by licking it. That's why this is so serious."

Dr. Lykissa said toxicologists 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," he said. "Then we put them in a machine (called an ICP-MS- or Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry), and that machine told us this is lead and this is chromium . . .

"We didn't dissolve the toys," he added. "These materials were leeching off the toys. Whatever leeched off the toys is what I'm reporting to you. The material came right off. Somebody's saliva or the sweat in their hands would freely pick up these materials. And that's absorbing it. If you ate the materials, like a dog might, it would be worse."

Physicist agrees

A physicist who reviewed ExperTox's findings echoed Dr. Lykissa's concerns.

"The fact that these (toxins) were leeching off the toys makes this much worse," said Jim Norling, an Ohio physicist. "He (Dr. Lykissa) was testing how much lead leeched out of the toys. That sounds like water soluble lead, which is more toxic than solid lead that is encapsulated. Water soluble lead is easily absorbed by the body, so this ups the ante on being toxic."

He added: "There's a big difference between lead that is contained and lead that is leeching in water."

Trace Laboratories used a different procedure to test the pet products it analyzed for WFLD-TV. That lab used what's called an X-ray fluorescence analyzer.

"It basically shoots a beam (at the area tested) and reads back the material content in the product," said the lab's General Manager, Mitchell Sas. "In this case, we only screened for lead."

Meanwhile, ExperTox's findings struck a personal chord with Norling and his wife, Karen.

Their two Miniature Schnauzers -- Angus and Taylor -- have repeatedly played with Wal-Mart's green monster toys. The dogs, they said, chewed on the toys for days and eventually tore the squeakers out of them.

Karen is worried about lead building up her dogs' bodies and the long-term affects that could have on their health.

"I wish to God he (Dr. Lykissa) was wrong about all this because if he's not my dogs will inevitably suffer, which will cause me to suffer deeply in the long run."

Her husband shares those concerns for their dogs and himself and his wife.

"Our dogs love that (toy)," Norling said. "We throw it to them and our hands get wet. Now I wonder how much lead we were exposed to. I work with my hands and if I had a cut, that lead would go directly into my blood and that's very bad."

Wal-Mart dodges

Wal-Mart, however, defended the pet toys we tested and said they were safe. The company also criticized Dr. Lykissa, saying he "severely misinterpreted" the results.

"After reviewing these test results provided to usthe results of these tests actually prove the products are VERY safe," said Wal-Mart's hired spokeswoman, Melissa O'Brien. She works for a private public relations firm called Edelman. "If these measurements are in fact the results, as you have reported, they have been severely misinterpreted by the director of ExperTox's lab, if he is reporting these levels to be 'high' or dangerous.

"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," O'Brien said.

O'Brien did not cite any scientific credentials and did not refer us to any scientific employees or consultants to back up her statements.

ExperTox said Dr. Lykissa is an expert at testing consumer products. The lab also called its findings "rock solid."

A veterinary toxicologist who reviewed ExperTox's results said the levels of toxic metals in the toys did not pose a health risk to dogs or cats.

"I don't see any of those numbers being a toxicity concern for dogs or cats," said Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Latex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million.

"I disagree with the interpretation that's being made (by Lykissa)," added Dr. Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology. "I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners."

After learning about Trace's findings, however, Dr. Murphy told the American Veterinary Medical Association that pet owners should be careful about lead exposure in their dogs and cats.

"If your pet is chewing and swallowing a toy then maybe that's not something you should allow the animal to play with," Dr. Murphy said, adding there are other -- more toxic -- sources of lead in many households, including old lead paint, fishing weights, curtain weights, and some older molded-metal toys.

More testing needed

Dr. Steven Hansen, director of the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal, said his lab fielded more than 200,000 hotline calls in the past two years. And none of those calls came from pet owners worried about a toy causing lead poisoning in their pets.

Dr. Hansen, however, urged pet toy makers to test their products for lead and other toxins.

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

An Illinois pet owner, who in August paid to have 24 of her dogs' Chinese-made toys tested for lead, agrees.

Nancy R. of Orland Park, Illinois, hired a laboratory at the Illinois Department of Agriculture to run the tests.

"The only reason I tested these dog toys is because I have lost three Shelties in the last four years and I can only figure out why one of them died," said Nancy, who is also a nurse.

Tennis ball

The Illinois Department of Agriculture's lab found the highest levels of lead in a PetSmart tennis ball -- 335.7 parts per million. It detected the lowest levels of lead in a Hartz Rubber Percival Platypus 0.02 parts per million.

"These are all within the acceptable limits for lead content in children's toys in Illinois," the lab's director, Dr. Gene Niles, told us. The veterinarian is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (DABVT). "There are no levels for lead content in pet toys. Are these numbers high or low? All I can tell you is that in Illinois, the state allows up to 600 parts per million for lead in kid's toys and these are all within that guideline."

Nancy, however, says new guidelines are needed specifically for pet toys. And these latest findings by Trace Laboratories illustrate her concerns.

"I want standards for safe levels of lead and other toxins for pet toys," she said. "And I want to know what they (those in the pet industry or with legislative authority) are going to do about getting these standards.

"Originally, my lab convinced me all my toys were safe. But now, I don't knowI don't know if I feel safe with the toys out there. I hope everybody stops blaming each other and starts solving the problem. And the problem is we have no standards for pet toys."

Symptoms

In the meantime, how can pet owners tell if their dogs or cats have lead poisoning?

Dr. Frederick Oehme, professor of toxicology and diagnostic medicine at Kansas State University, said symptoms can include a slightly anorexic appearance, loss of appetite, and behavior changes like twitching and whining in their sleep.

In more advanced cases, he said, there are neurological symptoms that include mild to severe seizures.

Pet owners who notice any of these symptoms in their dogs or cats should immediately contact their veterinarian, Dr. Oehme said.

"Veterinarians are in a very unique position because, when they see lead poisoning in a pet, the veterinarian can then ask if other members of the family -- particularly children -- have been checked for lead poisoning since they live in the same environment," he said. "I've seen a dog that tested with high levels of lead ... from lead soldering, and, when the owner was tested for lead, he also had high blood levels of lead."

More about pets ...



Tests Find More Toxic Pet Toys...

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 Dangers Not Confined To Lead

Even safe toys can be dangerous if broken or mishandled

December 4, 2007
While parents are worried about potentially dangerous toys this holiday season, retailers are just as worried that parents will bypass the toy aisle this year. Both concerns are very real.

I am very concerned about what toys to buy, says Linda Mata, who is buying toys for her grandchildren. You may buy them now, and then find out later that there is a recall after the children have already played with them.

Jolene Duckworth, a mother of two, is also being extra cautious this holiday season.

It is very important to know what types of toys are safe. The recent recalls due to lead have made me very worried about what to buy, she said.

While toys exceeding federal standards for lead content should be a concern, it should not be the only thing on parents minds while shopping this holiday season, says Sharon Swindell, M.D., a pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital.

The fact of the matter is that although these toy exposures are a concern for children, the biggest risk of lead exposure is still in the homes of the United States, she says. Parents need to really look at the toy carefully and read the labeling for many other things too, including if it is age-appropriate for your child.

To help parents become smart toy shoppers, Swindell offers these five tips to pick the safest and most appropriate toys for kids this holiday season.

1. Dont worry, but be vigilant. The toy recalls have raised concerns about a number of features on imported toys. Check online for up-to-date recall information before heading out to the stores. Look for warnings about small parts, breaking, fire and choking hazards, as well as information about lead paint. Even made in the U.S.A. does not mean it is a safe toy, so make sure to check all labels and recalls, Swindell cautions.

2. Be cautious when shopping online. There are pros and cons to online shopping. While it may be more convenient, you are not able to hold the toy and examine it as effectively as you would in-person. If you prefer online shopping, Swindell recommends reading product reviews from multiple sources by other customers and independent panels to make sure the toy is safe.

3. Chose toys wisely to make your children wiser. Toys that promote healthy behavior or require children to use their imagination should always be top picks. Toys such as a new bike, a puppet or doll, a book, or anything that involves the active engagement of the childs mind are good ways to promote mental activity and healthy habits.

4. Inspect toys carefully and always read the labels. Toy testing is only done when the toy is intact, so even a safe toy can become dangerous. Broken toys must be thrown away. And before you purchase a toy, make sure it is well constructed. When pieces break off a toy, it can leave a sharp edge or cause a possible chocking hazard.

When selecting a toy, make sure it is age-appropriate. Age recommendations are made by independent review panels that look at the size of the parts, strangulation and choking hazards as well as the ability of children to use the toys according to their motor skills, Swindell said.

5. Research the toys on your little ones wish list. If your child has been dying for a toy all year and advertisements for it seem to be popping up everywhere, make sure to check it out before you buy. Look online for any recall information, product reviews by other customers and independent panels. If you find that the particular toy is just not right, look for other, similar options.

If it is something that the kids have seen on TV or in a movie, try to find another toy that has that same theme but is just right, Swindell said. For example, consider a puzzle from your childs favorite movie instead of a movie action figure that may include small pieces.

And, before you buy, be sure to consider these other toy-buying tips:

• Buying a bike, tricycle, scooter, or anything with wheels? Make sure to buy a helmet.

• Dont forget books they count as toys too.

• Organic toys are becoming more popular, but Swindell cautions that there is not yet a designated label that provides information about a toy being organic.

• Look for toys that are flame resistant, retardant or nonflammable.

• If the toy is battery-operated or requires recharging of any sort, have a parent do it. Serious burns and other injuries may result if not done properly.

• If you are buying a stuffed animal, doll or other toy that is filled, make sure the inside contents would not pose a choking hazard if the toy was ripped or broken. Avoid substances such as beans and pellets whenever possible.



Toy Dangers Not Confined To Lead...

Experts Offer Toy-Buying Safety Tips

How to identify and avoid hazardous toys

November 21, 2007
With so much scrutiny on the toy industry, some consumer advocates say toys may actually be safer this holiday season than they have been for years, but they are still warning that there are almost certainly dangerous toys on store shelves.

Given all the attention that has happened over the last few months with recalls, I am assuming and I gather that manufacturers, retailers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and consumer groups are all redoubling focus on the consumer marketplace, said Alan Korn, director of public policy at Safe Kids USA, a nonprofit that aims to protect children from consumer dangers.

I'm fairly certain that this year is not going to be perfect but a lot of the lead-related toys and other dangerous toys are going to be washed out of the marketplace, Korn continued.

Sally Greenberg, director of the nonprofit National Consumers League, agreed with Korn.

I think the heightened level of scrutiny suggests to me that the testing from retailers in combination with all the toys that have been recalled suggest that toys are likely to be safer, she said.

Jean Halloran, product safety expert at Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, was not as optimistic.

At this point I wouldn't say they're safer, Halloran said. I think what we had is a trend as our toy industry has moved overseas which has happened in the last 10 years or so. I think there's probably been a growth in unsafe products.

We've now moved to a situation where 80 percent of toys sold in this country are made in China, Halloran continued. There are obviously risks with those products that we haven't seen with domestic-made toys.

Parents should be cautious

All three agreed that parents still need to be cautious.

There's still reason to be concerned, Korn said. There's still reason to exhibit caution and to use due diligence in buying toys. But I'm hoping that all this attention in the perfect storm focused on toy safety translates into a perfect marketplace.

This year has seen an unprecedented number of recalls, most of which involved products imported from China, but the experts said it may not be feasible for parents to completely ban toys from that country.

You don't have many (toys) to choose from if you rule out all the ones from China, Halloran said.

Korn said, I have a seven-year-old. Am I personally not going to buy toys from China? My answer is 'no.'

Greenberg suggested that if parents buy any toys from China they ensure the product has no painted surfaces, pieces of metal or magnets that could be swallowed.

What to do

The Consumers Union and Safe Kids USA gave these toy-buying tips:

• Before shopping for toys, consider the childs age, interest and skill level.

• When shopping, read labels. Look for well-made toys and follow age and safety information on the warning labels.

• Keep toys with small parts away from children under age three. They can choke on small toys and toy parts. Korn said asphyxiation is the most common toy-related death.

• Carefully read instructions for the assembly and use of toys.

• Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child.

• Although the CPSC insists that home lead tests are not accurate, Consumers Union encourages parents to use them to test suspicious toys. Lead Check and Lead Inspector are their preferred brands.

• Avoid no-name products and be careful of toys purchased at dollar stores, street fairs, vending machines, thrift stores or yard sales.

• Any toy or part of a toy that can fit through a toilet paper tube should be considered a choking hazard.

• Beware of toys that can be broken into smaller pieces such as chalk, crayons, or caps from markers. They can pose choking hazards to toddlers and babies.

• Do not give a bike without a bike helmet. Many states mandate that children wear a helmet while riding a bike.

• Sign up for the CPSC's product safety alerts and cross-reference any toy purchased with the list of toys already recalled because occasionally those toys are not pulled off store shelves. All recalled toys can be found at ConsumerAffairs.com's categorized recalls page.

Both Greenberg and Korn said that they expect toy safety will improve even more so next year but that parents always need to be cautious when purchasing toys.

CPSC's advice

Although part of its charter is to respond to requests for information, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) did not return six phone calls and two e-mails to answer specific questions, but in a news release the agency offered these shopping tips:

Ride-on Toys Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.
Small Parts For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
Magnets For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
Projectile Toys Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
Chargers and Adapters Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

To choose appropriate toys for children:

• Be a label reader. Look for toy labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide.
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.
• For all children under 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Once the gifts are open:

• Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things.
• Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings or neighbors.
• Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.



Experts Offer Toy-Buying Safety Tips...

Group Warns Of 10 Worst Toys Of 2007

Toxins, sharp objects, ingestion hazards galore

November 14, 2007
Fisher-Price's "Go Diego Go" animal rescue boat tops the 10 Worst Toys of 2007 list assembled by a Boston consumer group. It was subject to a recall in October because of potential lead ingestion injuries.

World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH a Boston-based consumer group says it had a hard time narrowing its list to 10 this year.

There is simply no excuse for the sale of toys containing known poisons such as lead. Research has shown that exposure to this neuro-toxin can have serious long-term effects, particularly for children, WATCH said in a statement.

Rounding out the top ten are

Sticky Stones, which have the potential for choking and internal injuries;

Jack Sparrows Spinning Dagger, flagged for its potential eye and other impact injuries;

Dora the Explorer Lamp, which WATCH points out is an electric appliance and not a toy;

Lil Giddy Up Horse, cited for its potential for ingestion or aspiration injuries;

Spider Man 3 New Goblin Sword, which WATCH says is too much like a real sword instead of a toy; Hip Hoppa, singled out for potential head and other impact injuries;

BLoonies Party Pack, cited for potential chemical ingestion and burn injuries;

My Little Baby Born, spotlighted for its potential to cause choking; and Rubber Band Shooter, making the list for its potential to cause eye injuries.

The alarming number of recent toy recalls is evidence of an industry that has put profits before child safety, WATCH said in a statement.

Many of the recalls issued were the result of lead and small parts violations both hazards are well known by manufacturers and have no place in childrens products. Yet, toxic toys with excessive lead content accounted for at least thirty toy recalls, representing over five million units, since W.A.T.C.H.s 2006 '10 Worst Toys' conference.



Group Warns Of 10 Worst Toys Of 2007...

California Bans Phthalate in Toys

Phthalate, widely used in baby toys, linked to health problems


California has banned toys and baby products that contain more than a trace amount of phthalate, a chemical that's used to soften plastics.

The substance is commonly used in baby bottles, teething rings, soft baby books and other toys intended for infants and toddlers, but some scientists say it interferes with hormones and can lead to early puberty, reproductive defects and other health problems.

The industry disputes that and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has found "no demonstrated health risk" involving phthalate.

"We must take this action to protect our children," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as he signed what became known as the Toxic Toys Bill. "These chemicals threaten the health and safety of our children at critical stages of their development."

The new law, authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, will prohibit the manufacturing, sale and distribution of toys and child care products intended for use by children under the age of three that contain phthalates.

Banned in Europe

California is the first state to ban the substance, which has already been banned by the European Union and at least 14 other countries. But the U.S. toy industry says the amount found in toys is so low it's not a health hazard.

The measure takes effect in 2009, when any product made for young children that contains more than one tenth of one percent of phthalates cannot be made, sold or distributed in California. New York, Maryland and Oregon are considering similar bills.

Not just toys

Phthalates arent found only in toys, but also a variety of products that have soft plastic components, and also in certain aerosols and liquids, including some hair sprays -- and, according to Greenpeace, the iPhone.

Greenpeace says the iPhone is losing "green ground" to other mobile phone competitors which are in the process of eliminating phthalate and other toxic chemicals found in the iPhone.

Your grandkids' rubber duckies

An industry Web site created by the American Chemistry Council denies any health risk from the toys but acknowledges that the chemical is pervasive in modern toys.

"From dolls to rubber duckies, a popular choice is vinyl made flexible by the addition of a phthalate plasticizer during fabrication of the material," gushes the Phthalte Information Center, a Web site created by the American Chemistry Council. "Flexible vinyl is durable and can endure years of hard play without losing its color, its flexibility or its fun. It is easily cleaned and is low in cost."

"Years after the kids have outgrown their toys, and after many non-durable toys have broken, become useless or just a hazard, the rubber duckie and its companions can be taken from storage to be enjoyed by the grandkids," the industry-funded site exclaimed.

Writing in a "blowback" to the Los Angeles Times, American Chemistry Council President Jack N. Gerard said the California measure has "no basis in solid scientific research ... It creates a mythical monster and asks the governor to slay it with a stroke of his pen."

"[W]e do strongly object to gross overstatements and the perpetuation of urban legends about these and other chemicals, all apparently designed to sow fear and uncertainty among consumers and product manufacturers," Gerard said.

Cleared by CPSC

Gerard noted that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) spent more than four years studying DINP and found "no demonstrated health risk" to children and "no justification" for banning it. The CPSC reaffirmed its findings in a letter to a state senator in July, he noted.



California Bans phthalate in Toys...

Consumers Respond to Toxic Pet Toy Stories

Standards needed to protect pets and their owners


Scared and horrified.

Thats an Ohio pet owners reaction to a ConsumerAffairs.com story that revealed what a forensic toxicologist called elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium in two Chinese-made pet toys sold at Wal-Mart.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought one of those toys for my two dogs, pet owner Karen N. told us. Now Im really afraid because (the forensic toxicologist) in the article said the toy could shorten my dogs lives. This makes me sick.

Our story also convinced the Middlefield, Ohio, woman that:

• National standards are needed for safe and acceptable levels of lead and other heavy metals in toys for dogs and cats. Many in the pet industry have called for such standards in the wake of our report;

• The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or some other governmental body should regulate pet toys. Currently, no federal agency regulates these products even though adults and young children handle them;

• Pet product manufacturers should make dog and cat toys that only have ingredients from the United States. I had no idea that China made just about every pet toy thats in this country . . . I cant find any dog toys that China doesnt make.

• Pet owners should discuss this issue with their veterinarians and with their children's pediatricians.

In September, ConsumerAffairs.com hired ExperTox Analytical Laboratory to analyze four Chinese-made pet toys we bought at Wal-Mart -- two for dogs and two for cats -- for heavy metals and other toxins.

High levels of lead

One of the dog toys -- a latex one that looks like a green monster -- tested positive for what ExperToxs Forensic Toxicologist and Director, Dr. Ernest Lykissa, Ph.D., called high levels of lead and the cancer producing agent chromium.

Specifically, the lab reported the green monster toy contained 907.4 micrograms per kilogram of lead.

Thats almost one part per million, Dr. Lykissa told us. 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 Dr. 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 Texas-based laboratory also found other toxic metals in the green monster toy.

Theres cadmium, arsenic, and mercury in there, Dr. Lykissa said. This is not a clean toy. This is toxic. Bank on it.

ExperTox also detected worrisome levels of cadmium in a cloth catnip toy 236 micrograms per kilogram.

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

Veterinarians disagree

But two veterinary toxicologists who reviewed ExperToxs results said the levels of toxic metals in the toys did not pose a health risk to dogs or cats.

Wal-Mart is also adamant that the chew toys are safe. Whether the toys pose a hazard to children and adults who handle them remains unclear.

The state of Illinois this week reached a settlement with a lunch bag distributor, who agreed to stop selling and distributing lunch bags containing amounts of lead in excess of the limits in Illinois law.

It is crucial that children's products containing any amount of lead be taken off the shelves and out of the hands of young children, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

ExperTox also analyzed two other Chinese-made pet toys a cloth hedgehog for dogs and a plastic dumbbell toy for cats. The lab detected cadmium in those toys, but said the levels were about the amount youd find in one cigarette and not considered significant.

Angus & Taylor

Nonetheless, ExperToxs findings frightened Karen because she recently purchased two of Wal-Marts green monster toys for her miniature Schnauzers, Angus and Taylor.

I had just brought the toys in the house, gave them to my dogs, and then went on my computer and read a consumer alert from your Web site, Karen told us on Monday. And there was that green monster toy.

I couldnt believe it had lead in it. My dogs had already started playing with.

Whats even more concerning, Karen said, is this is the second time this year that shes purchased the green monster toys for her dogs. The Schnauzers chewed on the toys for days, she said, and eventually tore the squeakers out of them.

Long-term effects

Karen is now worried about lead building up her dogs bodies and the long-term effects that could have on their health.

I wish to God (your forensic toxicologist, Dr. Lykissa) was wrong about all this because if hes not my dogs will inevitably suffer, which will cause me to suffer deeply in the long run.

Karen said her dogs -- who are 10 months and 4 1/2 years old -- are in good health and have not shown any signs of illness from playing with the green monster toys.

But after reading our story, she immediately took the imported chew toys away from her dogs and returned them to Wal-Mart.

The customer service lady said oh, this is one of the recalled toys. But these toys are still on the shelf. Like I said, I just bought them a couple weeks ago.

Still being sold?

ConsumerAffairs.com purchased the four Chinese-made pet toys at a Wal-Mart in Kansas City, Missouri. We checked the store last week and found a green monster toy that looked identical to the one we tested except it wasnt in a plastic bag like the one we purchased and the UPC number was one digit off.

We also couldnt find the catnip toys on the stores shelves.

Wal-Mart, however, never indicated it planned to remove the toys from its stores. Instead, the companys hired public relations person, who did not cite any scientific credentials, attacked ExperTox and said Dr. Lykissa severely misinterpreted the results.

After reviewing these test results provided to usthe results of these tests actually prove the products are VERY safe, Melissa OBrien, who identified herself as representing Wal-Marts corporate communication, wrote us in an e-mail. Other news organizations said O'Brien told them she worked for a public relations firm called Edelman.

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.

OBrien pointed out that CPSC has a limit of 600 parts per million for the total lead in surface coating.

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

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, OBrien said.

Hatchet job

"The only conclusions drawn in our articles have been that experts disagree and that safety standards are needed to protect pets and the humans who come in contact with them and their toys," said ConsumerAffairs.com President and Editor in Chief James R. Hood. "Everyone agrees with that -- except Wal-Mart, which has contributed absolutely nothing to this dialogue."

"Edelman practices the slash-and-burn tactics now common in politics -- tactics that are totally inappropriate in the public health field," Hood said. "Wal-Mart's customers deserve better."

ConsumerAffairs.com also interviewed two veterinary toxicologists, who said the levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium in the green monster and catnip toys did not pose a health risk to pets, though they did not cite any long-term studies to back up their opinions.

I dont see any of those numbers being a toxicity concern for dogs or cats, Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesotas College of Veterinary Medicine told us. Latex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million. What he (Dr. Lykissa) is saying is that one part per million is a risk. But latex paint is 10,000 times higher than that and we dont recognize latex paint as a toxicity risk to dogs and cats.

I disagree with the interpretation thats being made (by Lykissa), added Dr. Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology. I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners.

Dr. Fred Oehme at Kansas State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine said the risks to dogs and cats from these toys depends on how much of the heavy metals are absorbed in their bodies.

Could they be harmful? The poisoning depends on how much is taken into their systems. Most animals require 30 parts per million of their total daily diet before you get into a problem with lead. Cadmium is more than that.

Im more concerned about the lead than the other two (heavy metals), he added. Lead accumulates and if it gets into the body, it builds up.

Not swayed

ExperTox, however, isnt swayed by its critics. It stands by its findings and calls them rock solid. Lab Manager Donna Coneley also said Dr. Lykissa is an expert at testing consumer products.

ExperTox, she said, has the most advanced and sensitive equipment for conducting heavy metal tests specifically its ICP-MS or Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.

Thats the machine ExperTox used to test the four pet toys we purchased at Wal-Mart.

These (toxic) materials came off the toys freely, like with the lick of the tongue from a dog or cat, Dr. Lykissa 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, Dr. Lykissa said. Then we put them in (theICP-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.

Expertox, however, doesnt look at 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.

But in our opinion, that level of lead (907.4 micrograms per kilogram) is considered elevated and there are other choices (for pet owners), 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. 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.

"Solid results"

Pet owners, she said, can trust the labs test results -- and the science behind them.

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 time.

This isnt the first time in recent weeks that test results on heavy metals in pet toys -- and the interpretation of those findings -- have pitted Dr. Lykissa against veterinary toxicologists and others in the pet industry.

In late August, an Illinois pet owner -- worried about the safety of the chew toys her Shelties played with -- hired the laboratory at the Illinois Department of Agriculture to test 24 Chinese-made dog toys for lead.

The only reason I tested these dog toys is because I have lost three Shelties in the last four years and I can only figure out why one of them died, said Nancy R. of Orland Park, Illinois.

She contacted us after reading our story about ExperToxs results on the imported Wal-Mart chew toys.

Then my 83-year-old mom noticed that my dogs toys were all made in China, Nancy said. I went to Petco and PetSmart and couldnt find any toys not made in China -- except one rope knot that was made in Mexico. I was doing this personally for the safety of my dogs and only tested for lead because thats what theyre finding in the toys from China.

The Illinois Department of Agricultures lab reported that the lead levels in all 24 dog toys Nancy tested fell within that states acceptable limits for lead paint in childrens toys.

The levels also fell far below the amount of lead paint in childrens toys thats allowed by federal law 600 parts per million.

The lab found the highest levels of lead in a PetSmart tennis ball -- 335.7 parts per million. It detected the lowest levels of lead in a Hartz Rubber Percival Platypus 0.02 parts per million.

These are all within the acceptable limits for lead content in childrens toys in Illinois, the labs director, Dr. Gene Niles, told us. The veterinarian is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (DABVT).

There are no levels for lead content in pet toys. Are these numbers high or low? All I can tell you is that in Illinois, the state allows up to 600 parts per million for lead in kids toys and these are all within that guideline.

But the lead levels in PetSmarts tennis ball are 335 times higher than the amount of lead ExperTox found in the green monster toy.

Both safe ... or both dangerous?

Does that mean both toys are safe because the lead levels are far below 600 parts per million?

Or does it mean they both pose a health risk to pets and the children who play with them?

The answer depends on which scientists -- or public relations person -- you talk to about the findings.

PetSmart said its tennis balls are safe for dogs and the levels of lead do not pose any health risks.

To our knowledge, we are not selling any products that have compounds that have tested above levels of toxicity established by the various entities named above and are not posing any health threat to pets or humans, said Bruce Richardson, PetSmarts director of external communication.

Richardson said his company routinely tests its dog and cat toys for lead and other toxins.

The products we sell must meet a variety of safety and quality standards and protocols, he said. These are based on federal regulations and standardsas well as commonly accepted standards established by highly respected institutions such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

In addition, we have established our own stringent standards of quality and safety for areas not necessarily covered by those groups named above.

Richardson took exception with our comparison of the lead levels in the companys tennis ball to those found in the green monster toy.

He said its not fair to use ExperToxs benchmark of one part per million as a safety measure for lead or other toxins in pet toys.

The terms high and elevated are relative terms and must be used carefully and given proper context to avoid confusion and alarm, Richardson said. Its not fair to pit a (forensic) toxicologist against a veterinary toxicologist on this issue. I dont think he (Dr. Lykissa) has a leg to stand on. Hes not a veterinary toxicologist and has no point of reference when he talks about elevated levels. Elevated against what? I dont think his results bring any value to this discussion. And his comments will not change anything were doing.

ExperTox disagreed.

The labs manager said the levels of lead in PetSmarts tennis ball are elevated and ExperTox does not consider them safe.

Those are a lot higher levels than what we found in the green monster toys, and I dont see how 600 parts per million is acceptable, said the labs Donna Coneley. We dont agree that (335.7 parts per million of lead) is a safe level.

Would Coneley let her dog chew on a toy with those levels of lead?

Not from what I see here at the lab, she said. We have differing opinions on what is safe and acceptable.

Coneley also questioned the validity of using the same acceptable levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys that are used in childrens toys.

Weight matters

Weight is always a factor, she said. If youre dealing with a teacup-size dog you cant assume that whats safe for a 20-pound child is safe for a three- to ten-pound dog. Cats are light as well. Their little bodies are not able to spread out the toxins. Animals also tend to chew things off more aggressively than kids.

Everyone seems to concentrate on humans with this type of testing, but maybe more scrutiny is needed on what limits are safe for pets.

Thats the one point where nearly everyone involved in this debate is on the same page.

There clearly is an absence of regulations for pet toys, Richardson said. Maybe the guidelines ... the levels ... for human standards are not so good based on the exposure for dog (or cats). Thats a huge question that needs to be addressed.

PetSmart, he said, would not object to having national acceptable standards and levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

The president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) told us his members -- who represent more than 900 pet product makers, importers, and livestock suppliers worldwide -- would welcome such standards.

Theyre looking for a benchmark that everyone can follow, said Bob Vetere, president of the non-profit organization. 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 be willing to work with them and help them on this issue, he said.

The CPSC, however, said its agency currently has no regulatory control over pet products. We only have jurisdiction over a pet-related product (that is not food), if evidence is presented that the product has put the safety of consumers at risk, said spokesman Scott Wolfson. He did not address the potential danger to children and adults exposed to the pet toys.

Dr. Niles with the Illinois Department of Agriculture joined those who favor national acceptable levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

We have to use human data now in the absence of pet data, he said. Work needs to be done to get standardized levels for pets. But you have to have the data. And Im fully in favor of scientific data to support those guidelines. Once we get those guidelines, we can interpret this data in relationship to animals instead of humans.

National standards

Remember worried pet owner Karen from Ohio?

She also supports the adoption of national standards for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

Dogs are living beings, she said. Theyre our companions. It shouldnt just be this attitude that oh, its a dog so we dont need any standards.

There absolutely should be standardized levels (of toxins) for pet toys.

Karen also favors federal regulation of pet toys. And I definitely think the CPSC should take that over. We all know that babies and toddlers put things in their mouths ... they could easily put these pet toys in their mouths.

Until that happens, Vetere said members of the APPMA will triple-checking their products to be sure theyre tested for lead and other toxins.

That action, he said, is the result of our story about ExperToxs findings on Wal-Marts pet toys.

Everyone (in this industry) is well aware of your story, Vetere told us. 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.

Made in China

Meanwhile, Karen and other dog owners told us theyll no longer buy pet toys made in China. But that might not be easy to do.

I cant find any pet toys that arent made in China, Karen said, adding she wished some company in the USA would start making toys for dogs and cats. Ive done my research and most of the pet toys are made in China. Ive also written to different pet companies and theyve told me that basically everything made in China.

Pet owner Nancy from Illinois ran into the same problems during her search for USA-made dog toys.

I was going to dump out all my old toys and buy only ones made in the USA, she said. But I couldnt find any that werent made in China. What amazes me is that all these toys are made in China.

Karen also told us shes going to discuss ExperToxs findings with her veterinarian.

And Im hoping that the veterinarians you talked to are right and that theres no harm giving these toys to my dogs.

Whether pet owners agree or disagree with ExperToxs findings, the labs manager said this debate has given them the tools to make more informed decisions about the products they give their dogs and cats.

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.

This has opened a Pandoras Box and its good that people are now talking about this.



Consumers Respond to Toxic Pet Toy Stories...

Pet Industry Agrees on Need for Toxicity Standards

Wal-Mart relies on spin doctors, while others call for research and stricter standards


An Illinois pet owner -- worried about the safety of the chew toys her Shelties played with -- recently hired a laboratory at the Illinois Department of Agriculture to test 24 Chinese-made dog toys for lead.

The only reason I tested these dog toys is because I have lost three Shelties in the last four years and I can only figure out why one of them died, said Nancy R. of Orland Park, Illinois. When all the news came out about pet food and the tainted ingredients from China, I got concerned.

"Then my 83-year-old mom noticed that my dogs toys were all made in China. I went to Petco and PetSmart and couldnt find any toys not made in China -- except one rope knot that was made in Mexico.

I was doing this personally for the safety of my dogs and only tested for lead because thats what theyre finding in the toys from China, she said.

But Nancys lab results -- and the interpretation of those findings -- has again pitted a forensic toxicologist against veterinarians and others in the pet industry about what are safe and acceptable levels for lead and heavy metals in toys for dogs and cats.

The results also illustrate why many in the pet industry want acceptable national levels for lead and other toxins -- specifically for dog and cat toys.

Heres the latest development in this debate, which surfaced in the wake of recent ConsumerAffairs.com story.

Illinois findings

The Illinois Department of Agricultures lab released its findings late last week on the 24 dog toys Nancy had tested for lead.

All the toys had lead levels that fell within that states acceptable limits for lead paint in childrens toys, according to the lab.

The levels also fell far below the amount of lead paint in childrens toys thats allowed by federal law 600 parts per million.

The lab found the highest levels of lead in a PetSmart tennis ball -- 335.7 parts per million. It detected the lowest levels of lead in a Hartz Rubber Percival Platypus 0.02 parts per million.

These are all within the acceptable limits for lead content in childrens toys in Illinois, said the labs director, Dr. Gene Niles. The veterinarian is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (DABVT). There are no levels for lead content in pet toys. Are these numbers high or low? All I can tell you is that in Illinois, the state allows up to 600 parts per million for lead in kids toys and these are all within that guideline.

But the lead levels in the PetSmart tennis ball are 335 times higher than the amount of lead a Texas laboratory -- hired by ConsumerAffairs.com to analyze four Chinese-made pet toys for heavy metals and other toxins -- found in one of the products.

That product -- a latex dog toy that looks like a green monster -- had what the labs forensic toxicologist called elevated levels of lead -- 907.4 micrograms per kilograms.

Thats almost one part per million, said ExperToxs director and forensic toxicologist Dr. Ernest Lykissa, Ph.D. 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 Dr. Lykissa considered high levels of 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 also detected what Lykissa called worrisome levels of cadmium in a catnip toy -- 236 micrograms per kilogram.

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

ConsumerAffairs.com purchased all four pet toys it hired ExperTox to test 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.

Wal-Mart attacks

Wal-Mart has attacked ExperToxs finding and said Dr. Lykissa severely misinterpreted the results.

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, Melissa OBrien, who identified herself as representing Wal-Marts corporate communication, wrote us in an e-mail. Other news organizations said O'Brien told them she worked for a public relations firm called Edelman.

After reviewing these test resultsthe results of these tests actually prove the products are VERY safe," the hired publicist said.

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," O'Brien argued. 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.

OBrien referred to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions (CPSC) limit of 600 parts per million for the total lead in surface coating.

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

Two veterinarians who reviewed ExperToxs findings said the levels of heavy metals found in the chew toys do not pose a threat to dogs or cats. Whether the chew toys ExperTox tested are a hazard to children and adults who handle them is unclear.

I dont see any of those numbers being a toxicity concern for dogs or cats, Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesotas College of Veterinary Medicine told us. Latex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million. What he (Dr. Lykissa) is saying is that one part per million is a risk. But latex paint is 10,000 times higher than that and we dont recognize latex paint as a toxicity risk to dogs and cats.

I disagree with the interpretation thats being made (by Lykissa), added Dr. Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology. I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners.

Dangerous? It depends

Dr. Fred Oehme at Kansas State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine said the risks to dogs and cats from these toys depends on how much of the heavy metals are absorbed in their bodies.

Could they be harmful? The poisoning depends on how much is taken into their systems. Most animals require 30 parts per million of their total daily diet before you get into a problem with lead. Cadmium is more than that.

Im more concerned about the lead than the other two (heavy metals), he added. Lead accumulates and if it gets into the body, it builds up.

Dr. Niles, at the Illinois Department of Agricultures lab, agreed that one part per million of lead is not a health risk to pets.

Thats my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, he said. Youd find very few things that you would let anybody play with if that (one part per million) was your benchmark.

Lack of standards

PetSmart told us earlier this week that it routinely tests its products -- including dog and cat toys -- for lead and other toxins.

The companys spokesman reiterated those safety protocols today.

The products we sell must meet a variety of safety and quality standards and protocols, said Bruce Richardson, the companys director of external communication. These are based on federal regulations and standards (such as those found in the Code of Federal Regulations), state and provincial regulations, as well as commonly accepted standards established by highly respected institutions such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

"In addition, we have established our own stringent standards of quality and safety for areas not necessarily covered by those groups named above, he said.

Richardson took exception with our comparison of the levels of lead in the PetSmart tennis ball to those found in the green monster toy.

He said its not fair to use ExperToxs benchmark of one part per million as a safety measure for lead or other toxins in pet toys.

The terms high and elevated are relative terms and must be used carefully and given proper context to avoid confusion and alarm, he said. Its not fair to pit a (forensic) toxicologist against a veterinary toxicologist on this issue. I dont think he (Dr. Lykissa) has a leg to stand on. Hes not a veterinary toxicologist and has no point of reference when he talks about elevated levels. Elevated against what? I dont think his results bring any value to this discussion. And his comments will not change anything were doing.

Richardson added: To our knowledge, we are not selling any products that have compounds that have tested above levels of toxicity established by the various entities named above and are not posing any health threat to pets or humans.

ExperTox isnt swayed by its critics.

The lab stands by its findings and calls them rock solid.

The labs manager also disagrees that the levels of lead in PetSmarts tennis ball are safe.

Those are a lot higher levels than what we found in the green monster toys, and I dont see how 600 parts per million is acceptable, said ExperToxs Donna Coneley. We dont agree that (335.7 parts per million of lead) is a safe level.

Coneley -- who pointed out that ExperTox and Dr. Lykissa are experts at consumer product testing -- said she wouldnt let a dog chew on a toy that had those levels of lead.

Not from what I see here at the lab. We have differing opinions on what is safe and acceptable.

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

We simply pour out our results as we receive them, she said, adding her lab uses state-of-the-art technology. We dont look at the limits on products.

Coneley questioned the validity of using the same acceptable levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys that are used in childrens toys.

Weight is always a factor, she said. If youre dealing with a teacup-size dog you cant assume that whats safe for a 20-pound child is safe for a three- to ten-pound dog. Cats are light as well. Their little bodies are not able to spread out the toxins. Animals also tend to chew things off more aggressively than kids.

Everyone seems to concentrate on humans with this type of testing, but maybe more scrutiny is needed on what limits are safe for pets.

Thats the one point where nearly everyone involved in this debate is on the same page.

"Huge question"

There clearly is an absence of regulations for pet toys, Richardson said. Maybe the guidelinesthe levelsfor human standards are not so good based on the exposure for dog (or cats). Thats a huge question that needs to be addressed.

PetSmart, he said, would not object to having national acceptable standards and levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

The president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association said his members -- who represent more than 900 pet product makers, importers, and livestock suppliers worldwide -- would welcome such standards.

Theyre looking for a benchmark that everyone can follow, said Bob Vetere, president of the non-profit organization. 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 be willing to work with them and help them on this issue, he said.

The CPSC, however, said its agency currently has no regulatory control over pet products.

We only have jurisdiction over a pet-related product (that is not food), if evidence is presented that the product has put the safety of consumers at risk, said spokesman Scott Wolfson. He did not address the potential danger to children and adults exposed to the pet toys.

Dr. Niles with the Illinois Department of Agriculture joins those who favor national acceptable levels for lead and other toxins in pet toys.

We have to use human data now in the absence of pet data, he said. Work needs to be done to get standardized levels for pets. But you have to have the data. And Im fully in favor of scientific data to support those guidelines. Once we get those guidelines, we can interpret this data in relationship to animals instead of humans.

Until that happens, Vetere said members of the APPMA will triple-checking their products to be sure theyre tested for lead and other toxins.

That action, he said, is the result of our story that revealed what Dr. Lykissa said were elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium in the two pet toys sold at Wal-Mart.

Everyone (in this industry) is well aware of your story, Vetere told us. 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.

No U.S. toys?

Meanwhile, Nancy told us shes relieved by test results on her dog toys.

Dr. Niles convinced me that these are all within safe limits, she said. My first reaction when I heard these results was a deep sigh of relief. I had lost dogs and then I thought oh, no, theyre chewing on toys that may be dangerous. So when I found out these results, I was relieved that these toys are safe.

Nancy, however, is still troubled that she cant find pet toys made in the United States.

What amazes me is that all these toys are made in China. I was going to dump out all my old toys and buy only ones made in the USA. But I couldnt find any that werent made in China. So I thought that if thats all I can get, Im going to make sure theyre safe. And the lab told me these toys are safe.

Whether pet owners agree or disagree with that interpretation, ExperToxs Coneley said this debate has given them the tools to make more informed decisions about the products they give their dogs and cats.

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.

This has opened a Pandoras box and its good that people are now talking about this issue.



Pet Industry Agrees on Need for Toxicity Standards...

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...

Wal-Mart Attacks Lab Tests that Found Lead, Chromium in Pet Toys

Threatens legal action to silence independent lab's reports

Copyright © 2007 ConsumerAffairs.com Inc. All Rights Reserved
Wal-Mart has gone on the attack, saying the independent laboratory ConsumerAffairs.com hired to analyze four Chinese-made pet toys severely misinterpreted the results by reporting that two of the products contained elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium.

But ExperTox Analytical Laboratory stands by its findings on the chew toys sold at Wal-Mart and calls its report rock solid.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, already under attack in Congress for being weak and ineffective, remained on the sidelines. A spokesman said the agency only concerns itself with products that harm humans. A spokesman did not address the potential danger to children and adults exposed to the pet toys.

Meanwhile, the U.S. based KONG Co. -- maker of the well-known red rubber toys for dogs -- said it wasnt surprised by ExperToxs findings because there are many companies that view the pet industry as a profit center and seem to lose sight of ethical practices.

As we reported on Sunday, ConsumerAffairs.com hired ExperTox to test four Chinese-made pet toys -- two for dogs and two for cats -- for heavy metals and other toxins.

Toxic burden

Two of those toys -- a latex one for dogs that looks like a green monster and a cloth catnip one -- revealed what the labs toxicologist called high levels of the toxic metals lead, chromium, and cadmium.

Specifically, the lab reported the green monster toy 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.

Toys should be pulled

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.

But two veterinarians who reviewed ExperToxs findings said the levels of toxic metals in the chew 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.

ExperTox also analyzed two other Chinese-made pet toys a cloth hedgehog for dogs and a plastic dumbbell toy for cats. The lab detected cadmium in those toys, but said the levels were about the amount youd find in one cigarette and not considered significant.

ConsumerAffairs.com 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.

On Friday, ConsumerAffairs.com sent a copy of the labs results to Wal-Mart. We re-sent those results on Monday after Wal-Mart requested additional information.

Wal-Mart fights back, threatens legal action

Late Monday afternoon, Melissa OBrien of Wal-Mart's corporate communication division, sent us an e-mail saying Wal-Mart disputed ExperToxs results. She also said we would be hearing from her company's lawyers.

She said ExperTox severely misinterpreted the findings.

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 wrote. 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 children's 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 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a limit of 600 parts per million for the total lead in surface coating.

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.

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, however, and did not repeat her pledge that Wal-Mart would test the pet toys in question.

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 stiuplate that she has any scientific credentials.

Idle threats

O'Brien demanded the story be withdrawn and threatened legal action if it was not.

"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's 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."

"Meanwhile, we will be gathering evidence on the harm inflicted on pets, children and adults by toxic imports," he said. "America's largest retailer owes more to its customers than trying to goon-squad its critics into silence."

Expert testimony

Despite Wal-Mart's slurs on 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 labsICP-MS -- or Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

Lykissa said the lab used that machine to test the four pet toys.

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 medications 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 told us today.

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.

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 time.

Results not surprising

Meanwhile, the Colorado-based company that makes KONG toys for pets said ExperToxs findings werent shocking.

It does not surprise me to hear of your laboratory results as there are many companies that view pet industry as a profit center and seem to lose sight of ethical practices, said Chuck Costello, director of marketing for the KONG Company.

There are no governmental controls over these products, he said.

As far as I know there is no U.S. regulatory body that oversees pet toy imports or domestic pet toys, he said, adding his companys products are made from FDA approved materials and routinely tested for product safety.

The companys safety standards, he said, are more rigorous for the three KONG toys made in China Air KONG (tennis ball toys), KONG Plush, and KONG Wubba.

All imported KONG product lines are tested by independent laboratories, once in China and again in the U.S. to prove they are safe and non-toxic, he said. Once products are received in the KONG warehouse they are again subjected to strict KONG quality control procedures.

PetSmart told us on Monday that it also routinely tests its pet toys for toxins.

We do a lot of random testing of toys and other products, said Bruce Richardson, the companys director of external communications. And to my knowledge we have never found any issues relative to this -- particularly with lead -- with the levels being above the ones established by the government. They fall well below those levels.

He added: We expect that the people who are providing us with supplies -- our vendors and manufacturers -- are meeting U.S. governmental regulations. But in addition to that, we randomly pick toys for dogs and cats and test them for lead and other toxins.

The CPSC told us late today that it only regulates products -- including toys -- that hurt humans. The agency didnt say if that includes pet toys that could be handled by humans.

The FDA also told us it has no regulatory power over toys for dogs and cats.

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.

But veterinarians who reviewed ExperToxs results disagree.

I dont see any of those numbers being a toxicity concern for dogs or cats, said Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesotas College of Veterinary Medicine. Latex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million. What he (Dr. Lykissa) is saying is that one part per million is a risk. But latex paint is 10,000 times higher than that and we dont recognize latex paint as a toxicity risk to dogs and cats.

I disagree with the interpretation thats being made (by Lykissa), added Dr. Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology. I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners.

Dr. Fred Oehme at Kansas State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine said the risks to dogs and cats from these toys depends on how much of the heavy metals are absorbed in their bodies.

Could they be harmful? The poisoning depends on how much is taken into their systems. Most animals require 30 parts per million of their total daily diet before you get into a problem with lead. Cadmium is more than that.

What to do?

Should pet owners be wary of these toys?

I think theyre a potential hazard just like a car can be a potential hazard, said Dr. Oehme, a professor of toxicology, pathobiology, medicine, and physiology. The hazard in this case implies how the compound is being used and its availability.

Im more concerned about the lead than the other two (heavy metals), he added. Lead accumulates and if it gets into the body, it builds up.

Pet owners whove read our story say theyre horrified by Expertoxs findings.

One pet owner even called on consumers to stop buying chew toys made in China. These lab results are very disturbing, said Doris B., of Columbus, Georgia. And she doesnt have a dog or a cat. Her pet is a ferret.

If I had a dog or cat, I would be mad as H-E-L-L.

Doris said pet owners arent the only ones who should be concerned about ExperToxs findings. Parents should be worried, too.

There are children playing with their pets and their pets toys, she said, and sometimes small children will put their pets toys in their mouths.

Somebody ought to care enough to do something about this.

Consumers can take action by refusing to buy pet toys made in China, said Kathy K. of Northville, Michigan.

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. More studies and investigations into pet toys made in China should be performed and warnings should go out to the general public to beware.



Wal-Mart Attacks Lab Tests that Found Lead, Chromium in Pet Toys...

Wal-Mart Reviewing Results of Tests on China-Made Pet Toys

Consumer Product Safety Commission ignores inquiries, FDA claims no jurisdiction

Copyright © 2007 ConsumerAffairs.com Inc. All Rights Reserved
Wal-Mart said today that its reviewing the laboratory results on two Chinese-made pet toys sold at its stores that -- according to a forensic toxicologist whose company tested the products for ConsumerAffairs.com -- contain elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission -- which says it needs more money to protect consumers -- did not respond to our inquiries, either last week or today.

And a pet owner in Michigan called on consumers to stop buying pet toys that are made in China.

ConsumerAffairs.com hired ExperTox Analytical Laboratory in Texas to test four Chinese-made pet toys -- 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 labs toxicologist said are high levels of lead and the cancer producing agent chromium.

A cloth catnip toy also tested positive for a tremendous amount of the toxic metal cadmium.

But two veterinarians said the levels of toxic metals 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.

ExperTox also analyzed two other Chinese-made pet toys a cloth hedgehog for dogs and a plastic dumbbell toy for cats. The lab detected cadmium in those toys, but said the levels were about the amount youd find in one cigarette and not considered significant.

ConsumerAffairs.com 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.

ConsumerAffairs.com on Friday sent a copy of the labs results to Wal-Mart. Today, a company spokeswoman asked us for more information about the chew toys specifically the UPC codes.

As soon as this detail is received we will involve our Compliance Safety group who can initiate testing among a sample with the independent labs we use that are government approved for product testing, Melissa O'Brien, with Wal-Marts corporate communications division, wrote us in an e-mail.

After we provided that information, OBrien told us: We will follow up with our Compliance Safety group on this today and let you know our actions.

As ConsumerAffairs.com first reported on Sunday, forensic toxicologist Dr. Ernest Lykissa, Ph.D., director of ExperToxs lab, described the levels of heavy metals in the green monster and catnip toys as potentially toxic and said Wal-Mart should pull the products off the market.

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

Lykissa said lead 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 a carcinogen

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.

ExperToxs tests on the green monster toy detected what Lykissa said are elevated levels of lead -- 907.4 micrograms per kilogram.

Thats almost one part per million. 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 high levels of 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.

Which is worse?

Which heavy metal-- chromium or lead -- poses a bigger threat to dogs?

Toxic burden is toxic burden, Lykissa said. You are increasing the burden on the animal by having these in there. A dog is going to get a good dose of chromium and lead from this toy.

The lab also detected 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 toy detected concerning levels of cadmium 236 micrograms per kilogram.

That one is worrisome to me, Lykissa said. Thats a big number. Its a good dose of cadmium.

Theres another reason Lykissa is concerned about the heavy metals in these chew toys.

These (toxic) materials came off the toys freely, like with the lick of the tongue from a dog or cat, he said. 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.

Lykissa said toxicologists 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, he said. Then we put them in a machine (called an ICP-MS- or Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry), 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.

Lykissa said he wasnt surprised to find these levels of toxic materials in the toys.

I knew where they came from China. And anything from there seems to be made using very old manufacturing processes that are ripe with these types of problems. Unfortunately, its becoming routine in my business to see these types of results (on products made in China).

But we better be worried, he said of labs findings. Some of the toys you had were clean, like the hedgehog and the plastic dumbbell. They had small amounts of cadmium. But then you look at that catnip toy and it 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.

Veterinarians disagree

But veterinarians who reviewed ExperToxs results disagree.

I dont see any of those numbers being a toxicity concern for dogs or cats, said Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Minnesotas College of Veterinary Medicine. Latex paint can contain one-half to one percent of lead, which is 10,000 parts per million. What he (Dr. Lykissa) is saying is that one part per million is a risk. But latex paint is 10,000 times higher than that and we dont recognize latex paint as a toxicity risk to dogs and cats.

I disagree with the interpretation thats being made (by Lykissa), added Dr. Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology. I consider these to be extremely low numbers and they are not a toxicological concern for pet owners.

Dr. Fred Oehme at Kansas State Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine said the risks to dogs and cats from these toys depends on how much of the heavy metals are absorbed in their bodies.

Could they be harmful? The poisoning depends on how much is taken into their systems. Most animals require 30 parts per million of their total daily diet before you get into a problem with lead. Cadmium is more than that.

Should pet owners be wary of these toys?

I think theyre a potential hazard just like a car can be a potential hazard, said Dr. Oehme, a professor of toxicology, pathobiology, medicine, and physiology. The hazard in this case implies how the compound is being used and its availability.

Im more concerned about the lead than the other two (heavy metals), he added. Lead accumulates and if it gets into the body, it builds up.

Governmental inaction

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about Expertoxs findings. A spokeswoman said the FDA does not regulate toys for pets, and she is not aware of any governmental agency with regulatory power over these products.

What about the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)?

Although its not in the fine print, the CPSC will regulate pet toys as they assume those toys would come in contact with children, according to a spokeswoman for the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA).

We shared ExperToxs test results with APPMA --a non-profit trade group that represents more than 900 pet product makers. The groups president, however, was unavailable for comment.

We also contacted the CPSC last week and today, but the agency has not responded to our inquiries.

Pet owners irate

Meanwhile, a pet owner who read our report says the public should stop buying Chinese-made toys for their dogs and cats.

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', said Kathy K. of Northville, Michigan.

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, she said, adding her family buys most of its dogs toys at PetSmart. 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. More studies and investigations into pet toys made in China should be performed and warnings should go out to the general public to beware.

PetSmart tests

A spokesman for PetSmart told us today that his company appreciates customers concerns about the safety of the toys they give their dogs and cats.

Thats why PetSmart routinely tests its toys for toxins.

We do a lot of random testing of toys and other products, said Bruce Richardson, the companys director of external communications. And to my knowledge we have never found any issues relative to this -- particularly with lead -- with the levels being above the ones established by the government. They fall well below those levels.

He added: We expect that the people who are providing us with supplies -- our vendors and manufacturers -- are meeting U.S. governmental regulations. But in addition to that, we randomly pick toys for dogs and cats and test them for lead and other toxins.

ConsumerAffairs.com randomly chose the four Chinese-made pet toys we hired ExperTox to test.

We took that action after Doris B. of Columbus, Georgia, contacted us in late August with concerns about possible toxins in chew toys.

There is a lot of public outcry (and rightly so) over the Menu Foods and Mattel toy recalls, she told us. One overlooked area is the pet toy industry. It seems like every cat toy, dog toy, etc. says made in China. Has anyone tested these things to see if they are safe for our pets to chew?

Doris said shes horrified by ExperToxs resultseven though she doesnt have a dog or cat. Her pet is a ferret.

These lab results are very disturbing. If I had a dog or cat, I would be mad as H-E-L-L.

I had a sneaking suspicion this was the way it was going to come down, she added. Weve had these pet food recalls and the (melamine-tainted) ingredients came from China. And the childrens toys that have been recalled were also made in China.

But pet owners shouldnt be the only ones alarmed by ExperToxs findings, Doris said. Parents should be worried, too.

There are children playing with their pets and their pets toys, she said, and sometimes small children will put their pets toys in their mouths.

Somebody ought to care enough to do something about this.



Wal-Mart Reviewing Results of Tests on China-Made Pet Toys...

Mattel Recalls Millions of Chinese-Made Toys

Hazards include lead paint, magnets that can be swallowed


For the second time in a month, U.S. toy maker Mattel, Inc. is recalling millions of Chinese-made toys because they contain lead paint or small magnets that can be swallowed by children.




Mattel today recalled 9.5 million magnetic toys in the United States --18.2 million worldwide -- and more than two-hundred thousand die-cast toys. Some of the magnetic toys included in todays massive recall include Polly Pockets play sets and Batman action figures.

The action comes less than two weeks after the toy giant recalled nearly one million Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other toys made in China that contained lead paint.

The United States banned the use of lead paint in toys nearly 30 years ago because its toxic if ingested by young children.

This is also the latest in a string of recalls involving tainted or defective Chinese-made products, including tires, toothpaste, seafood and ingredients used to make pet food.

An investigation by ConsumerAffairs.com earlier this summer also revealed that 96 percent of all toys recalled during the first part of the year were made in China.

The toys included in todays recall are:

• About 253,000 die-cast Sarge toys from the CARS vehicle line that contain lead paint. These are 2 inch toy vehicles that look like military jeeps. They were sold individually or in sets of two at retailers nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007. Mattel said it has not received any reports of injuries associated with the toys;

• About 7.3 million Polly Pocket play sets sold nationwide from May 2003 through November 2006. These play sets have small magnets inside the dolls and accessories the can come loose and choke young children. Mattel recalled about 2.4 million of these play sets on November 21, 2006. Since that time, the company has received more than 400 reports of magnets in the toys coming loose. It also received three reports of serious injuries involving children who swallowed more than one magnet. All three children suffered intestinal injuries that required surgery;

• About one million Doggie Day Care play sets. These play sets have small magnets inside the toys that can fall out and pose a choking hazard to children. The recalled play sets include: Doggie Day Care Coco, Doggie Day Care Crockett and Baby, and Doggie Day Care Ice Cream with Ranger. They were sold nationwide from July 2004 through August 2007. Mattel has received two reports of magnets coming loose, but no injuries have been reported;

• About 683,000 Barbie and Tanner play sets. These plays set have a small magnet inside the scooper accessory that can come loose and choke a child. Mattel has received three reports of magnets coming loose, but no injuries have been reported. The recalled play sets are model numbers J9472 and J9560 and were sold nationwide from May 2006 through August 2007;

• About 345,000 Batman and One Piece magnetic action figure sets sold nationwide from June 2006 through June 2007. The action figures have magnets inside the accessories that can fall out and be swallowed by a child. The recalled toys include: The Batman Magna Battle Armor Batman figure with model number J1944; The Batman Secret ID figure with model number J5114, and One Piece Triple Slash Zolo Roronoa figure with model number J4142. Mattel has received 21 reports of magnets falling out of the toy figures. There are no reports of injuries associated with these toys.

Mattels Chairman and Chief Executive Office apologized to parents.

"The safety of children is our primary concern, and we are deeply apologetic to everyone affected," Robert A. Eckert said in a written statement. "Mattel has rigorous procedures, and we will continue to be vigilant and unforgiving in enforcing quality and safety.

"We don't want to have recalls, but we don't hesitate to take quick and effective action to correct issues as soon as we've identified them to ensure the safety of our products and the safety of children," he said.

The company said it discovered the lead paint in the Sarge vehicles during an ongoing investigation that followed its recall earlier this month.

Mattel learned the Chinese company that made the die-cast toy -- Early Light Industrial Co., LTD, (Early Light) -- subcontracted the painting to another Chinese vendor. That company, Hong Li Da (HLD), used paint supplied from an unauthorized third-party supplier instead of the products supplied by Early Light.

Mattel said its taken steps to prevent that from happening again.

"We have immediately implemented a strengthened three-point check system, Jim Walter, senior vice president of Worldwide Quality Assurance for Mattel, said in a written statement. First, we're requiring that only paint from certified suppliers be used and requiring every single batch of paint at every single vendor to be tested. If it doesn't pass, it doesn't get used.

"Second, we are tightening controls throughout the production process at vendor facilities and increasing unannounced random inspections. Third, we're testing every production run of finished toys to ensure compliance before they reach our customers."

He added: We've met with vendors to ensure they understand our tightened procedures and our absolute requirement of strict adherence to them.

Mattel said the company has stopped selling the recalled products, told its retailers to pull them from the shelves, and made a production change.

The company said parents should immediately take the recalled toys away from their children and call its toll-free number for a free replacement product. That number is (888) 597-6597.

A complete list of the recalled toys is posted on Mattels Web site www.mattel.com or the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Web site: www.cpsc.gov.

Chinese Suicide

In related news, the co-owner of the Chinese company that made the Sesame Street and other recalled toys that contained lead paint apparently committed suicide over the weekend.

A state-run newspaper reported that Cheung Shu-hung -- co-owner of Lee Der Industrial Company -- committed suicide at a warehouse apparently by hanging himself.

The paper reported that shortly after the recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned Lee Der Industrial from exporting products. The newspaper said its common for disgraced officials in China to commit suicide.

Mattel Recalls Millions of Chinese-Made Toys...

Toy Industry Defends Chinese Imports

Senator Calls for Creation of "Import Czar"


As consumer concerns about the safety of Chinese imports grow, the president of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) says he's not surprised by a ConsumerAffairs.com analysis that revealed most of the toys recalled this year came from China.

Eighty percent or more of the three billion toys sold each year come from China, said TIAs President Carter Keithley. Given that amount, its not surprising (so many recalled) toys are from China. Its the law of averages.

But he added: We never like to see a recall, particularly ones that involve something like lead paint in a toy. That has been forbidden for decades. The reality is the countries dont make the toys companies make them. And theyre the ones that are responsible.

Keithley said his industry was very unhappy about RC2 Corporations recent recall of 1.5 million Thomas and Friends wooden train sets that contained lead paint.

RC2 recalled the wooden train sets -- made in China --on June 13.

That was a particularly big recall and for those products to have contained lead paint is just something that should not have happened.

This was an unfortunate occurrence, Keithley said, adding RC2 is not a member of TIA. That association is considered the voice of the U.S. toy industry. Wed like to find out more about what happened to see if there are any gaps of our safety system.

Keithley said our investigation is troubling because it contributes to the growing, negative feelings consumers have about products made in China. That country has come under fire in recent weeks for exporting tainted ingredients used in pet food, toothpastes that contain the chemical diethylene glycol, and shoddy tires.

But Keithley said members of his association have trusted toys made in China for years.

Our industry has sourced toys from China for the past couple of decadessince the 80s. If we, over the last couple of decades, had not been able to rely on the safety of toys from China, we would not be sourcing them from China. These are products for our children.

Keithley also said he does not --in spite of our findings -- believe the U.S. should ban toys made in China.

Not at all. We are not anywhere near thinking that we should ban toys made in China.

He said his industry works with Chinese companies to make sure they understand -- and meet -- current U.S. safety standards.

For the past 11 years, we have done toy safety standard seminars in China, Keithley said, adding TIA is holding a seminar next month in China. This is an industry sponsored seminar -- with participation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission -- to let (Chinese) companies know what measures they need to take to meet our standards.

Keithley also said consumers shouldnt panic about the all the recalls of toys made in China or other countries.

Theres a tendency to overlook that the recall system is part of the safety net designed to insure that toys are safe. And I can tell you that the system of assuring the safety (of toys) is robust.

Heightened Scrutiny

A number of U.S. businesses that use Chinese products and materials have reportedly stepped up testing of their imports.

General Mills, Kellogg and Toys R Us have increased their inspections, in the wake of recalls of tainted dog food, toothpaste and tires, according to The New York Times. The newspaper says these inspections included more unannounced visits to Chinese manufacturing plants.

Food makers are said to be testing for potential contaminants not on the inspection list a few months ago. Toys R Us has hired two senior executives, creating new positions to oversee procurement and product safety, mainly for goods made in China.

Congress Reacts

U.S. companies are feeling the heat, along with China, over these new safety concerns. Some members of Congress have accused companies of compromising quality in order to cut costs and increase profits.

The latest political heat is coming from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is calling for the creation of a federal import czar, saying unexacting inspections and a bureaucratic morass are to blame for the problems.

"Neither the Chinese or American government is doing their job," he told The Washington Post. Schumer said the Bush administration had cut funds for the regulatory agencies that are responsible for ensuring food and product safety.

"The Chinese system of regulations is where we were in 1890," Schumer said. Rigorous inspections at the U.S. border must make up for any weakness in foreign regulations, Schumer contended.

Last week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee whose jurisdiction includes product recalls requested Senate action in analyzing the underlying concerns of toy safety, Chinas role and what can be done to safeguard children from potentially harmful products.

Agencies Adrift

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says budget cuts have reduced the number of inspectors at ports of entry. The agency says it is able to inspects less than one percent of imports.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is adrift. It has been without a chairman for more than six months, when the Bush administration's appointee resigned abruptly to become a lobbyist.

With only two commissioners, the agency is not able to vote on civil penalties or enact new safety regulations.

Toy Industry Defends Chinese Imports...

Pokmon Plush Toys Recall

July 8, 2005
Pokmon Plush Toys are being recalled. The stuffing of the toy may contain tips of sewing needles which could pose a puncture hazard.

The recall involves 10 Pokdoll plush toy characters including Pikachu, Minun, Plusle, Skitty, Evee, Munchlax, Mew, Ho-Oh, and Lugia. Pikachu comes in a 12-inch and a 6-inch tall version. All of the other characters are approximately 6-inches tall. They have a sewn-in label that reads: Pokmon Center 2005 Pokmon /Nintendo /Creatures/ GAME FREAK on one side and 2005 MADE IN CHINA on the other.

The toys were sold at Nintendo World, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, and on the firms Web site from April 2005 through June 2005 for between $8 and $20. The PokDoll plush toys were also given away as promotions by Nintendo of America Inc. at the E3 Conference in Los Angeles in May 2005.

Parents should take these toys away from children immediately and contact Pokmon USA to receive a free replacement toy.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact the firm toll-free at (800) 930-6613 anytime or visit Pokmons Web site at www.pokemoncenter.com/recall.asp.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).



Pokmon Plush Toys Recall...

Pokmon Plush Toys

August 6, 2005
Pokmon plush dolls, beanbags, and key chains are being recalled. Tips of sewing needles have been found in the stuffing, posing a puncture hazard.

The recall involves 13 plush Pokmon characters shown below. All recalled toys have a sewn-in label reading TOMY. There also is a production code on the toys label that begins with a letter and is followed by two numbers. The following production codes are included in the recall: A04, B04, C04, D04, E03, E04, F03, F04, G03, G04, H03, I03, J03, K03, and L03. Any production code containing an S is not part of this recall.

The toys were sold at Pokmon Center NY, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City and on the firms Web site at www.pokemoncenter.com nationwide from January 2004 through August 2004 for between $2 and $11. A limited number were given away as a promotional item.

Parents should take these toys away from children immediately and contact TOMY Company for information on receiving a refund or free replacement toy.

Consumer Contact: Call TOMY Company at (800) 691-8055 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Pokmon Plush Toys...

"Rattling, Paddling Riverboat" - Burger King Kid's Meal Toys Recalled

"Rattling, Paddling Riverboat"

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2001 -- Burger King Corp. and Alcone Marketing Group are recalling about 400,000 "Rattling, Paddling Riverboat" toddler toys because of a potential choking hazard to young children. The toys were distributed in Burger King Kid's Meals. Metal pins with plastic caps that attach the paddle wheel to the riverboat toy can come out and pose a choking hazard.

Burger King Corp. has received 10 reports that the pin on the toy came out. One child was found with the pin in her mouth. Her father removed it and no injuries have been reported.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Alcone Marketing Group imported the toys for Burger King. The "Rattling, Paddling Riverboat" toys are red plastic boats about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The captain figure squeaks when it is pushed down. When the boat is moved across the floor, beads in the boat's paddle wheel make a rattle sound. The following words are imprinted on the bottom of the boat, "Sassy, MFG FOR BURGER KING CORP, MADE IN CHINA." The packaging says "Toddler Toys For Kids Under Three Years Old."

Burger King restaurants nationwide distributed the riverboat toys inside Kid's Meals in January and February 2001.

Parents should immediately take the toy away from children and call (800) 661-9173 for instructions on returning the toy for a free, replacement toy. Information also is available at Burger King's web site at www.burgerking.com.

Rattling, Paddling Riverboat - Burger King Kid's Meal Toys Recalled...