December 14, 2007

Toy Recalls: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

Seriously, I am exasperated by all of the talk of lead in the paint on our child's toys. Thousands of toys being taken from the shelves because the toy industry has not been diligent about protecting our children from this poison. Until this past week, we had been pretty much untouched by the recalls. When the first recalls were made, I scanned through the lists and pictures. I found one item that we had but according to the dates, it should be safe. I threw away the Dora, backpack and puppy anyway. Just in case. I trusted that the watchdogs were doing their job and that if there was any more potentially sickening or deadly toys in my playroom, I would be aware.
Then this week I saw a story on our local news that talked about how a Fisher Price doctor set, just like the one we got our 2 year old for her birthday, had been pulled from shelves in Illinois because of lead paint on the blood pressure cuff. Sounds OK, but the story went on to say that these cuffs were still on the shelves in every other state. The industry says that it is because Illinois has stricter laws on the amount of lead allowable. The pediatrician they had on said that no amount of lead is safe. He also said that there is reason to believe that the elevated levels of lead in our toys could correlate to the increase in certain learning problems in kids like ADHD. Just great! The toys that I give my children could be causing them to have learning struggles in the future!!
So now I am just mad, and a bit paranoid. As I was walking down the toy aisles looking for stocking stuffers for the girls, I found myself wondering, "which of the toys that I am buying for Christmas will be taken away from my children in the coming months?" Each toy I look at with a suspecting eye. Is this little Strawberry Shortcake doll going to cause my children to have serious learning problems in the future? I have looked into getting a home test for lead but found that the Consumer Product Safety Commission found them to be highly unreliable. So for now, I just have to rely on recall lists and our government to get the information. I have to admit that that is really not very comforting.

Some Resources for Toy Recalls:

Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall Announcements
CNN Toy Recall News Page
Toy Industry Recall Page - not sure I trust an organization created by the toy industry.
Medical Kit Recall
Recalled Lead Toys

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