Consumer watchdog warns of toxic, dangerous children’s toys

SEATTLE -- Chances are you have already started your holiday shopping – but how do you know what toys are safe for your kids.

The Washington State Public Interest Research Group (WashPIRG) tested toys they bought at national chains. In some cases they found dangerous levels of heavy metals, but most surprising for parents could be the toys that make too much noise.

The ‘lil phone pal’ from Leap Frog plays a cute song but researchers say 85 decibels is dangerous for adults and kids alike.

“Pretty fun but pretty loud,” said Tonina Bellante with WashPIRG.

And while all of these toys look like fun, Bellante says they shouldn’t be anywhere near kids. Tests show they have dangerous levels of materials like antimony, phthalates, and cadmium.

Bellante pointed to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pencil bag to make her point.

“This actually contains 150 times the legal limit of phthalates in children’s toys or child care articles,” said Bellante “But because it can be argued this is neither a child’s toy or child care article, it could be excluded from these rules.”

And because little kids like to chew on everything, the research group says these products can pose a danger.

“This is a random sampling of toys that were out on the shelves, so are there are potential hazards out there right now,” said Bellante.

And that’s what worries Emily George and her 16-month-old son Porter. She had no idea that her favorite toys could be toxic.

“The level of the heavy metals is a little scary,” said George. “What shocks me the most is that these are brands I’m familiar with and I wouldn’t expect any of these to be the types of brands to show up on this table.”

You can read WashPIRG’s full report here.