Recalls of Children’s Toys for Lead Paint Issues Fly Under the Radar In This Last Holiday Shopping Season Before Tough New Safety Standards for Toys Take Effect

Although the publicity was much greater last year, 45 children’s toys have been recalled due to lead paint issues so far this year. The toys include Casper the Friendly Ghost Halloween Figurines, xylophones, jewelry and classroom reading and math aids. But overall, toy recalls are down 46 percent from last year, it was announced at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s annual toy safety news conference this past week on November 12.

According to the CPSC, toy recalls had dropped to 74 in 2008 from 138 in 2007. Toy recalls in 2007 included children’s toys containing lead paint, dangerous magnets and in one case, a chemical that left children temporarily comatose. The CPSC attributed the drop in recalls to increased surveillance by the agency, including stepped up inspections at nine ports, stronger voluntary safety standards and efforts by toy manufacturers to keep dangerous toys from reaching the market.

Some consumer advocates credited retailers such as Toys R Us and Wal-Mart for driving down the recall rate by strengthening safety requirements for their suppliers.

CPSC regulators said at the annual toy safety news conference that parents should still be on the lookout for toys with small parts that could pose a choking hazard for children, including uninflated or broken balloons. They should also supervise children around scooters, ride-on toys, and battery chargers and adapters that come with electronic toys.

This is the last holiday shopping season before tough new safety standards for toys take effect in February, 2009. The new requirements include mandatory testing and certification by independent labs. Most toys for sale now were made and ordered months earlier.

The new law makes it illegal to sell or export a recalled product. The new law, called the Consumer Product Safety Reform Act of 2008, includes, among many elements, tough new standards for lead and chemicals in products meant for kids younger than 12. It also calls for mandatory safety tests and sets forth more ways to keep kids safe in the event of a recall.

Additionally, the law permanently bans three types of phthalates from toys and certain child care articles and temporarily bans three other types of phthalates, pending scientific review. The legislation will also ratchet down the allowable levels of lead in toys over a three-year period.

Phthalates are ever-present, found in toys, soft plastics, cosmetics, lotions and many other products. They have been linked to low sperm count, other reproductive effects, as well as liver and kidney damage.

Earlier this year New York Governor David A.Paterson also signed the Children’s Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008. This important piece of legislation will prevent recalled and defective toys and juvenile products from sitting on store shelves and will keep potentially dangerous products out of children’s hands. The new law also provides important information to consumers about recalls and safety warnings.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving dangerous and defective products . For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas.

If you or someone close to you has been injured by a product that was not properly manufactured, designed or labeled, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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