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Lead found in toys in stores

December 05, 2007|From the Associated Press

DETROIT — Tests on more than 1,200 children's products, most of them still on store shelves, found that 35% contain lead -- many with levels far above the federal recall standard for lead paint.

A Hannah Montana card game case, a Go Diego Go! backpack and Circo-brand shoes were among the items with excessive lead in the tests performed by a coalition of environmental health groups.

Only 20% of the toys and other products had no trace of lead or harmful chemicals, according to results to be released today by groups in 10 states, including the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Of the 1,268 items, 23 were among toys recalled this year.

Mattel Inc. recalled more than 21 million toys, some on fears that they were tainted with lead paint and others because they contained tiny magnets that children could swallow.

The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys, available at www.healthytoys .org, shows how the tested products rank in terms of containing lead, cadmium, arsenic and other harmful chemicals.

"This is not about alarming parents," said Tracey Easthope, director of the Ecology Center's Environmental Health Project. "We're just trying to give people information because they haven't had very much except these recall lists."

Easthope said 17% of the products tested had lead levels above the 600-parts-per-million federal standard that would trigger a recall of lead paint. Jewelry products were the most likely to contain the high levels, the center said. Among toys that tested above the limit was a Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game, whose case tested at 3,056 ppm.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says 40 ppm of lead should be the maximum allowed in children's products.

A spokeswoman for New York-based Cardinal Industries Inc., which sells the card game, said Tuesday that Cardinal was unaware of the environmental groups' tests but that the product had passed internal tests.

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