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.
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
photo credit:Ian Muttoo on flickr