Consumer Reports Calls For Federal Inquiry Over Lead In Toys

Monday, October 29th 2007, 4:56 pm
By: News On 6

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Many children's products still on the shelves test positive for lead, and one brand-name toy made in China yielded such high levels that Consumer Reports has called for a federal investigation, the magazine said Monday.

In its December issue, Consumer Reports advises parents not to let children use the blood pressure cuff that is part of some Fisher-Price Medical Kit toys. The plastic cuff comes in several colors, but the advisory pertains only to the red cuff, said Donald Mays, a product safety director at the magazine.

Exposure to lead can affect a child's development and behavior.

A call to Fisher-Price was referred to a public relations company. That company did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Fisher-Price is owned by Mattel Inc.

Mays said the magazine had tested six samples of the red toy cuff, three bought in stores and three already in use at the homes of employees of its publisher, Consumers Union. In the worst finding, the magazine said, a cuff that had been played with for two years showed total lead level of 10,000 parts per million.

There is no official standard for lead embedded in plastic, as it is in the red cuff, but Mays said the levels in the toy were worrisome. The standard for lead in paint and surface coatings on toys, which is more accessible than embedded lead, is 600 parts per million.

``If a child were to suck on this product or put its hand in its mouth after playing with this, or if the plastic became crumbly as it aged, the child could be exposed,'' Mays said.

``Whether or not it's covered by a regulation it should not be out there because it exposes children to potentially harmful levels of lead,'' Mays said. He said his organization has asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate. The commission has already recalled millions of toys for dangerous levels of lead.

Consumer Reports said it also found lead in varying amounts in dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets, and other items not on any federal recall list.