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Advocacy group says toxic toys still a problem


By Tom Flangian


Tallahassee, FL – In recent years, the United States has done much to improve the safety of children's toys. But Tom Flanigan reports one consumer group is still finding trouble in toyland.

This is a battery-powered Hot Wheels racer. If it sounds loud, it is. It registers ninety-three decibels, almost twice the safe-sound threshold of eighty-five decibels. There are also commonly available toys that contain dangerous substances like lead and plasticizers called "phthalades". Brad Ashwell, consumer advocate with the Florida Public Interest Research Group showed off some of those toxic toys to reporters on Tuesday. Ashwell says one of the only ways consumers can determine which toys may be dangerous is to visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's newly expanded web site.

"Kind of land-marking with saferproducts.gov' is that they have potential harms and that's what the big fight was over. A lot of people in the industry didn't want potential harms, understandably from their perspective."

Ashmwell says the only other thing concerned parents can do it to carefully examine every toy for possible hazards before they buy and hope for the best.