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PennPIRG Education Fund
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ABC27 WHTM
By
Kendra Nichols

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - A Pennsylvania consumer group is warning parents about to begin their holiday shopping that some toys, even though they can be found on store shelves, are not safe for young children.  

The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group on Tuesday released its 26th annual Trouble in Toyland report, an example list of toys that either pose choking or noise hazards or failed the group's laboratory tests for lead and phthalates, both of which pose developmental hazards for small children.

The nonprofit group said one of the products selected at random for testing, the Little Hands Love book from Piggy Toes Press, had more than seven times the amount of lead legally allowed. The plastic book could be used by babies and toddlers as a teething instrument.

Two other toys tested, a sleep mask made by Claire's and a pair of plastic funny glasses manufactured by Joking Around, exceeded the maximum safe levels of the plasticizing chemical phthalates by up to 77 times higher than the level allowed under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

The Super Stunt Rat Bomb from Hot Wheels and the Elmo's World Talking Cell Phone from Fisher-Price, were found to have excessive noise that could damage a child's hearing, and despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, the group said it found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards.

"Part of the law that was enacted in 2008 requires testing, but it's manufacturing testing," PennPIRG spokeswoman Vanessa Wright said. "The toy company has to self-test the toys and unfortunately that doesn't always happen."

The group pointed out that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not test all toys and does not testing before a toy goes on the market.

PennPIRG added that there are other toys - not on its list of examples - that could also pose hazards and urged parents to shop with caution.

Safety tips and the toys that failed the tests are available on the group's mobile website, www.toysafety.mobi.

The full report can be downloaded from www.pennpirg.org.

Piggy Toes Press later issued a statement in which the company said its lead testing results for the Little Hands Love book show it meets all U.S. standards.

"Our tests were conducted by Bureau Veritas, a major third party testing company approved by major retailers including Walmart and Target," the statement said. "The test results have been updated as of August 30, 2011. Test results for all of our children's products are updated annually. These results clearly show that Little Hands Love meets all U.S. safety requirements and poses no safety issue to children one and above, for whom the product is age graded."

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