Toxic Toys for Christmas



According to, a consumer guide released by the Michigan-based Ecology Center, and a guide that catalogs toxic toys, nearly 20 percent of the 1,500 toys the group tested by an X-ray fluorescence analyzer contain lead. Some of the toys contain other chemicals like arsenic, mercury, bromine, and cadmium. Over 60 percent of the toys tested contain some low level of these chemicals. Only 21 percent had no trace of chemicals in them.

The chemicals found in the toys may be part of the toy’s plastic, paint, or fabric. Chemicals may also be added to make the toys flame resistant, rigid or flexible, or help with their durability. These chemicals may enter the bodies of children through their mouths, their skin, or the air they breathe.

While several chemicals are regulated by the toy industry, states, and the federal government, some of these chemicals will be allowed to be sold through this holiday season before they are pulled from the shelves in 2009.

In addition to listing the toys that are deemed “best” and “worst” due to their chemical composition, also lists ten steps toy manufacturers could take to reduce or eliminate harmful chemicals from their products. Some companies have already taken some of the steps, but there is much more all toy manufacturers could do.