The Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report and list of possibly hazardous toys.
The list includes toys the group says contain high levels of lead or phthalates and those that pose choking hazards, including marbles and balls sold without warning labels. New this year to the list are toys found to exceed noise limits that are set to protect against hearing loss, including Elmo’s World Talking Cell Phone and Hot Wheels’ Super Stunt Rat Bomb.
According to PIRG, research has shown a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12; this may be in part due to many children using toys and other children’s products that emit loud sounds such as music players. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range. PIRG found 1 toy on store shelves that exceeded the recommended continuous exposure to 85-decibel limit and 2 close-to-the-ear toys that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter.
Each year PIRG chapters shop for potentially hazardous toys in September and October, then collaborate on testing to produce a list of items that violate or just barely meet safety recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others.
The group also launched a new interactive and mobile website (toysafety.mobi) aimed at helping shoppers evaluate toy safety while shopping.
For more information on this issue, please click here to read the full article.
By Laura Pittner, January 6, 2011.