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Toy shopping? First check the toxin levels...


In case you don't have enough to worry about as you shop for holiday toys for your kids, you should know that many toys on the shelves of mainstream retailers contain high levels of known toxins like lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, bromine and mercury.

But, you ask, doesn't my government regulate this? Don't they recall dangerous toys?

Well, not so much. Remember the politicians who have been wined and dined by corporate and industry lobbyists, who gave out big corporate tax breaks and who deregulated willy-nilly without establishing any kind of oversight?

They oversaw the toy industry with the same degree of insouciant negligence with which they overlooked sub-prime lending, global warming, and junk bonds.

Find out about the toys on your list

You can read more about toxins in our kids' toys through the links at the end of this post. But for right here and right now, you can find out about the safety of particular toys using the search's database. Visit their website, install the search widget on your website or blog, and try out's mobile interface.

download a flyerSearch for toys on the go

Use your cell phone to text healthytoys [toy name] (e.g. "healthytoys Elmo") to 41411. and will reply with search results.

Help inform other parents!

Print this flyer and post it at school, at work, and at the grocery store, so other parents can shop chemical-safe, too.

Read more about Toy Safety

The U.S. government doesn't require full testing of chemicals before they are added to most consumer products, including children's toys, according to And once they are on the market, the government almost never restricts their use, even in the face of new scientific evidence suggesting a health threat.

If you the gory details, you can consult the stunning 2005 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found, for example, that
  • EPA has used its authority to require testing for fewer than 200 of the 62,000 chemicals in commerce since 1979;
  • For existing chemicals, only 5 chemical groups out of 62,000 have been restricted by EPA in 29 years.

Toxic toys in the press this week

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