New report finds toxic toys common on store shelves

Apr 7, 2015

Hidden dangers sit on the toy shelves of some stores, according to a new report.

The report, called "Toxic Toys In Erie County," finds numerous children's products contain hazardous chemicals like lead and cobalt. Environmentalists tested toy cars, dolls, jewelry and other products sold in a variety of stores.

This popular Thomas & Friends toy train was found to contain lead, cobalt and cadmium.

Advocates say there is no way a parent can tell which products contain toxic chemicals and such chemicals can have adverse developmental health effects. Kate Dust, an official with EduKids, says a call to action on the state level can ease the problem.

"The Child Safe Products Act will help level the playing field and drive the market place towards safe solution by identifying chemicals of concern and requiring manufactures to publicly disclose harmful ingredients. This should eventually phase out the use of specific chemicals in children's products," Dust said at a Tuesday morning news conference in downtown Buffalo.

The survey report visited six Erie County retailers (Target, Macy’s, Spencer’s, Party City, Justice, and The Dollar Store) and tested a variety of toys, accessories, novelty products and apparel using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence device.

"You shouldn't have to be a toxicologist. You shouldn't have to have this device which is multiple thousands of dollars at home to be able to screen your products. That's not what parents are doing. They're busy, they're working on getting food on the table and breaking up fights between their kids. They don't have time to become experts," Deputy Director for Clean and Healthy New York Bobbi Wilding said.

Dust says if the state doesn't act, counties should take action and ban toxic toys from being sold. Albany county has already passed such a ban and Westchester and Suffolk counties are said to be close to passing laws.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the state should be proactive and take action to prevent such products from being sold in New York State.