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Hazardous Toys Still on Shelves This Holiday Season

Despite tough new legislation, 'buyer beware' remains the watchword for toy shopping

FRIDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the passing of an updated Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in August this year, many toys that contain hazardous materials are still on toy store shelves, according to a report released in November by the Public Interest Research Group.

In its 23rd annual toy safety report, Trouble in Toyland, the group notes that choking on small toy parts killed at least 190 children between 1990 and 2007, and was the leading cause of toy-related deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled over 150 million items of children's jewelry since 2004 because of lead levels, and a ban on all but trace amounts of the metal will not be fully enforced until August 2011, the report states. Phthalates in children's toys are banned under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, but the provisions are not yet in effect and toys containing phthalates are still being sold, the authors note.

The group recommends consumers to be vigilant and to remember that not all toys are tested by the CPSC. Moreover, there is no comprehensive list of potentially hazardous toys for consumers to refer to, they warn.

"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act gave the CPSC the tools it needs to do a better job," said Liz Hitchcock, a public health advocate with the Public Interest Research Group, in a statement. "Now it's up to Congress to fully fund those tools and for the CPSC to vigorously carry out its new responsibilities."

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