Children's Health


And attention Christmas shoppers. A Michigan nonprofit group releases a report this morning on toys. It found that one out of three toys it tested contained medium to high levels of toxic chemicals. More from NPR's Wendy Kaufman.

WENDY KAUFMAN: Fifteen hundred stuffed animals, books, games, action figures, and other products were tested by the Ecology Center. The center's Jeff Gearhart says about 500 toys contained disturbing levels of lead, arsenic, PVC, and other chemicals. It often didn't matter where the toy was made or how much it cost.

Mr. JEFF GEARHART (Campaign Director, Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys, Ecology Center): The one exception to that rule would be cheap children's jewelry. We found that jewelry is five times as likely to have elevated levels of lead in it than any of the other products we tested.

KAUFMAN: Gearhart says only about half as many of this year's toys contained lead compared to last year, but toys containing certain plasticizers, which will be banned beginning in February, are still on the shelves. At this Seattle-area drug store, Natasha Freidus, the mother of a one-year-old, is a bit frustrated to find vinyl baby books that may contain the soon-to-be-banned chemical.

Ms. NATASHA FREIDUS: It's not just about not knowing what's in the toys. I feel like I shouldn't, as a parent, I shouldn't really have to know exactly what's in the toys. I should know that if it's a toy for a baby that I can give it to my baby and feel comfortable with it.

KAUFMAN: She and other parents will get some relief when stricter regulations and new government oversight go into effect next year. Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle.

MONTAGNE: To read the full results of that study, go to our Web site,

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