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Popular Holiday Toys May Contain Toxic Chemicals

The Short of It

Could some of the toys you purchased for your kids this holiday season contain toxic chemicals? A new report says yes.

The Lowdown

In the report "Toxic Tidings: Chemicals of Concern in Children's Products," researchers say they examined playthings sold at popular retailers like Wal-Mart, The Children's Place and Target. What they found is alarming, to say the least.

For example:

  • A Spiderman foil puzzle contained cobalt.
  • A Hello Kitty charm necklace contained cobalt; a Hello Kitty ring set contained cadmium and cobalt; and a Hello Kitty charm bracelet contained antimony and cobalt.
  • A Dora the Explorer pencil case contained cadmium and lead.
  • Spongebob Squarepants briefs contained cobalt, and a Spongebob Squarepants pencil case contained cadmium and lead.
  • A set of Gerber onesies, purchased at Burlington Coat Factory, contained cadmium and cobalt.
  • A set of earrings contained arsenic, cobalt, lead and antimony, and another floral earring collection contained cobalt.

The potentially dangerous effects of these chemicals are well documented.

"Exposure to toxic chemicals like antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead and mercury, at any level, endangers children. Scientific studies show that consistent exposure could lead to autism, behavioral problems, cancer, early onset puberty, learning disorders, lower IQs, neurological damage, osteoporosis, respiratory conditions and Type 2 diabetes," said the researchers in a press release.

The Upshot

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Meaning, if these toys contain toxic chemicals, others not studied do too. It's alarming and upsetting that as parents we have to worry about exposure to lead and mercury when our children play with something as simple as a necklace or pencil case.

The good news is that the Consumer Products Safety Commission is taking steps to further limit the use of chemicals in toys. According to the CPSC, the United States already has very strict regulations about chemical use in children's products. In fact, only one recall involving a chemical concern in a toy was initiated in 2014. Still, a full ban of any chemicals in toys is the ultimate goal of this latest report and others like it.

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