Shoppers should still be on the lookout for potentially hazardous toys this holiday season, according to a survey released Monday by a consumer advocacy group.
Although there has been progress in toy safety, dangerous or toxic toys like rubber ducks, dolls and magnets are still on shelves across America as detailed in U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 29th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report.
Laboratory testing reveals that toxic chemicals, such as lead, chromium and phthalates, can be found in toys “well over legal limits,” according to the report.
The group found that one toy, named "Jake and the Neverland Pirates tambourine” distributed by Greenbrier International, contained metal chromium over nine times the legal limit. A response from the company was not immediately available.
Other toys detailed in the report are the “Our Generation: Sydney Lee and Stars in Your Eyes” doll by Maison Joseph Battat that includes a yo-yo that can be a choking hazard, and the “Leopard Pattern Rubber Duck” by Infantino had phthalate above the legal limit.
But the Toy Industry Association challenged the report's claims, which it called "consistently erroneous," pointing out that the report hadn't led to any product recalls. The industry group also said the study had not tested toys with regulator-accredited methods and had included products that weren't toys.
Infantino said to NBC in a statement on the report's findings that "many testing methods out there that can lead to false positives," adding that they "go to great lengths to ensure compliance with all safety regulations."
Battat told NBC in a statement that the report was "incorrect," commenting that the company has "the small parts choking hazard label on all of our items.”
“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys,” said Sujatha Jahagirdar, U.S. PIRG's public health campaign director.
The next steps would be to work with chains to move retailers towards adopting policies that disclose their toxics in their products to consumers, Jahagirdar said to NBC.
However, a toy industry representative has disputed the facts detailed in the group’s annual reports, noting that over the past six years none of the "supposedly hazardous toys identified by PIRG has resulted in a recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to PIRG’s allegations."
“Instead of sharing accurate and informative toy safety data with parents and caregivers, PIRG’s reports spread misinformation and confusion,” the Toy Industry Association's vice president of strategic communications Ken Seiter said in a statement.
The PIRG has urged parents or caregivers to report any toys that they suspect may be hazardous to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) at www.saferproducts.gov.
The full report can be found here.