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Student Group Warns of Potentially Unsafe Toys

By Amelia Pang
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 5, 2012 Last Updated: December 5, 2012
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Members of The New York Public Interest Group Megan Ahearn (L), Courtney Ross (C), and Armando Chapelliquen (R), speak about potentially unsafe toys in Lower Manhattan on Dec. 5, 2012. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Members of The New York Public Interest Group Megan Ahearn (L), Courtney Ross (C), and Armando Chapelliquen (R), speak about potentially unsafe toys in Lower Manhattan on Dec. 5, 2012. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—A new report warning parents of potentially unsafe toys to watch out for while shopping for the holiday season was released Wednesday by the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG), a student-directed research and advocacy organization.

Among the toys listed are The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fits, a set of large green boxing gloves in the shape of the Incredible Hulk’s hands. The toy is labeled as appropriate for children age 3 and above.

“It is not an issue of labeling, it is an issue of supervision,” said Joan Lawrence, vice president of Toy Industry Association, Inc. “Not every toy is fit for every child; parents need to make that decision.”

Although all 19 of the toys listed abide by U.S. toy safety standards, NYPIRG and other research groups believe that many toys that are currently on store shelves have issues such as inaccurate age labels, potential choking hazards, phthalate toxins, and magnetic toy hazards.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is a plastic commonly found in consumer products. The phthalate chemical is added to soften the plastic but it is not bound to the vinyl; hence, the chemicals can seep out of the product.

Congress banned phthalates in toys; however it is acceptable under federal law to have that chemical in other children’s products, such as rain boots and backpacks.

NYPRIG listed a children’s “The Rock” backpack as having 12 times the amount of the phthalate chemical that is allowed in toys.

The 19 items were a small sample of potentially unsafe toys, NYPRIG said. Its report will be posted on its website.

If the products’ universal recycling symbol has the number “3” on it, or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath the symbol, the product is made with PVCs, according to the Center for Health, Environment, & Justice.

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