Industry Tries to Toy with our Toy Report

By Dev Gowda
Public Health Advocate

It's mid-November, which for the general American population means that pumpkin-spice everything is all the rage, but for U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff, it means that our annual Trouble in Toyland report release is just around the corner. Apparently, the Toy Industry Association is also aware of our upcoming toy safety report.

Last week, the Toy Industry Association came out with a press release claiming that toys are safe, and parents and gift-givers shouldn't pay attention to the toy safety reports of several non-governmental organizations, including U.S. PIRG Education Fund. In addition, they attempt to undermine the validity of our 2014 Trouble in Toyland report.

We think their arguments are so misinformed that we can set them up and knock them all down like non-toxic, properly labeled dominoes. Here are their arguments, and our responses:

Toy Industry Association:
"Nearly 85% of the products named in PIRG's report were tested at a lab that is not accredited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to do that testing, seriously calling into question the validity of their methods and results."

U.S. PIRG Education Fund:
We used a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-accredited lab, STAT Corporation, for 100% of the toys that were tested for toxic chemicals.

Toy Industry Association:
"Many 'dangerous' toys named by PIRG...aren't even toys. Including non-toy items - like backpacks, headbands, and towels - in a toy report is disingenuous and creates confusion about the safety of compliant toys."

U.S. PIRG Education Fund:
All the products we tested were found in the children's toy section of the stores.

Toy Industry Association:
"None of the toys named in these reports have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency charged with overseeing toy safety.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund:
Our report isn't meant to find already-recalled toys at the stores. It's meant to identify potentially dangerous toys that are currently on store shelves which may need to be recalled once the appropriate government agency checks them out. Over the past 30 years, our reports have led to over 150 recalls and other enforcement actions.

Toy Industry Association:
"PIRG cited 29% of the toys in its report for having "near" small parts and "nearly" fitting into the Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved small parts tester to check for choking hazards. The fact remains that if an item passes the small parts test, it's not a small part...and not a hazard."

U.S. PIRG Education Fund:
Our report clearly states that "near small parts" do not violate the current Consumer Product Safety Commission test. We include "near small parts" in our report because we have always argued that the small parts test needs to be upgraded. Children have choked to death on "near small parts".


Perhaps the toy industry should spend more time knocking down dangerous toys from store shelves instead of trying to knock down our report with misinformation. We hope to find zero potentially hazardous toys in stores, but until that day comes, you can count on us to continue to make sure our littlest consumers are playing with safe toys.

Visit our website on November 24th to check out our 2015 Trouble in Toyland report. 




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