Trouble in Toyland: VPIRG's 2016 Toy Report

Montpelier, Vt. - The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) has released its 31st annual Trouble in Toyland Report.  It also listed some toys to watch out for when buying holiday themed toys. 

Starting in January under the Toxic-Free Families Act any children’s products that contain one of sixty-six chemicals that could be a concern to kids must be reported to the state of Vermont by January of 2017. 

The Trouble in Toyland report is a list of toys that have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission from January 2015 to October 2016.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, consumers should understand two things: First, not all recalls may be well-publicized, and some toys that are recalled may still be available online. Second, many products marketed to children contain known dangerous chemicals, so it is important to educate yourself about these products.” said Falko Schilling, VPIRG, Consumer and Environmental Advocate.

“For far too long, it’s been hard for people to find out if products they’re buying for their children contain harmful chemicals. Thanks to the work of the Vermont Legislature and Department of Health, Vermont created a first-in-the-nation program that will allow Vermonters to find out if the toys, bottles and other children's products on Vermont store shelves contain chemicals linked to health problems like cancer, infertility, and asthma. As a parent, I’m excited to finally be able to make better-informed decisions about what I’m bringing home to my children,” said Lauren Hierl, political director for Vermont Conservation Voters.

After the “Trouble in Toyland” report was released the Toy Industry Association sent out the following statement: 

U.S. PIRG calls their annual report “Trouble in Toyland” – but their 2016 report doesn’t indicate any trouble at all. In fact, many of the items previously recalled as a result of ongoing regulatory vigilance and named by the group are juvenile products and NOT toys (e.g. children’s jewelry, pacifier clips, etc.). The inclusion of these products in a supposed “toy” safety report undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are among the safest consumer product categories found in the home. U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, with more than 100+ standards and tests in place to ensure that all toys found on store shelves are safe.

Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers that they know and trust, and exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales, second-hand / thrift stores, etc., as these vendors may not be monitoring for recalled products. Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls to ensure that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands.

Safety is the toy industry’s top priority every day of the year. For information on recalls, toy safety and ways to ensure safe play, families are invited to visit, the Toy Industry Association’s safety resource for parents and caregivers.

According to the press release, there are also popular holiday themed toys being sold in Vermont that contain known dangerous chemicals, including the well-known “Elf on a Shelf”.  A Disney “Frozen” themed Christmas stocking and other stockings were on the press release.

The press release says that CCA and B LLC reported in August that the Elf on the Shelf contained a possible human carcinogen in the fabric of the doll. The release did note that the manufacturer did not say what the chemical was.

Local 22 & 44 reached out to the company that makes "Elf on a Shelf" who sent the following statement.

All CCA and B products meet or exceed all applicable federal and state standards for safety. We strive as a company to ensure that our products are safe for children. All of the necessary data was filed, according to law, to the Vermont Department of Health.

To see the full “Trouble in Toyland Report” click here.

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