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Toxic Toys “R” Us: Broken Promises by Major Toy Retailer Uncovered

Toxic Toys “R” Us: Broken Promises by Major Toy Retailer Uncovered

Do corporate promises to do better warm your heart? Sounder environmental practices, healthier products, better working conditions — those are all things that large corporations routinely promise and then fail to deliver on.

The Centre for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) has uncovered yet another disappointing example of a large corporation that made promises it has failed to deliver on. In a report entitled Toxic Toys “R” Us, which was presented to the National Commission of Inquiry on Toxic Toys, CHEJ reports that Toys “R” Us is not living up to its promises.

In 2008, following waves of toy recalls and growing consumer demand for safer, PVC-free children’s products, Toys “R” Us pledged to phase out the sale of toys containing lead or phthalates, reduce the sale of PVC-containing products and offer more PVC-free products.

Two years later, in the Fall of 2010, CHEJ conducted XRF testing on a sample of almost 70 different toys from Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us, that represented a broad spectrum of different types of products, well-known brands, and target age groups. The testing found that 72.5% of all toys/children’s products that were tested contained high levels of chlorine, which indicates they were probably made of PVC.

According to the Toxic Toys “R” Us report:

Toys that tested positive for PVC include Barbie, “Toys Story 3″ Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures, Disney Princess Royal Giggles doll, Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Hangout, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Diego figures, Sesame Street Elmo Faucet Cover, Club Penguin figurines, Imaginext toddler action figures and many others, from dolls and balls, to baby bath time toys and products, and even My Name Sippy Cups. PVC was also found in toys whose brands are owned by Geoffrey LLC, a subsidiary of Toys “R” Us, including You and Me dolls, Especially for Baby, and Sizzlin’ Time items.

The report expresses concern that in the wave of recalls due to lead in children’s toys that manufacturers may have just replaced one dangerous chemical (lead) with another dangerous chemical (PVC). Moreover, the toys and packaging that contained PVC rarely contained any indication of that fact on the label, indicating that products are not only dangerous, but also inadequately labelled.

CHEJ is calling on Toys “R” Us to reform its practices and live up to its promises and also calling on the federal government to implement reforms to better protect consumers.

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Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

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photo credit:Ian Muttoo on flickr

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29 comments

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11:14AM PST on Nov 24, 2010

Companies don't care about their customers. Once the consumer removes their head from their ass, they'll realize it.

9:56PM PST on Nov 22, 2010

Profits over health, nothing new here

9:15AM PST on Nov 22, 2010

It's called "soft kill" they have no interest in making anything safe.

7:56PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

How about DDT chew toys for babies? No No, how about baby turtles on a stick for them to suck on? No no how about vinyl cribs that have water slides? Bingo! thats the ticket, add r2d2 and then thats the toy of the century!

12:31PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

If you don't like it don't buy it! the only sensitivity in a corporation is the profit.

11:04AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Buy cheap from China and you'll get what you pay for...plus added negative "goodies".

5:56AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

All plastic products are scary. The people need to realize that the there are a lot of companies out there that seem like they are trying to poison us. Same with personal care products, additives to food, and especially pharmaceuticals.

5:29AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

We have alot of empty factories right here in the United States that could be retro fitted to make things here. We have cities in decay and people in desperation because there is no work here. Maybe that's where the incentive tax break for industries ought to kick in providing they keep the jobs here. While we may not be perfect, we have more regulations in place than China where you cannot produce food and fertilizer in the same plant. I'm not saying our corporate owners are any better than other places, some are great others are just as callous for human regard, but they know they'll get slammed if they get caught here and have alot to loose. We need to start making things here again. American workers take pride in what they do especially knowing they are making these items for our own children and then the worlds kids. Let's bring some jobs back here.

12:38AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Profit driven capitalism must be the most short-sighted system ever devised.

12:02AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

I don't care what the big corporations say about changing their policies. If it doesn't benefit shareholders it won't happen. We buy our toys from small online shops, like Etsy and Nova Naturals in the US and Myriad Online in the UK, that make toys from wood and a lot from Germany. The only mainstream toys we have are Legos and Tinker Toys (wood). The rest out there is mostly junk and not-oepned ended toys. If it's made in China, beware!

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