Ann Arbor company tests 737 toys for toxins

By Dick Berry - email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

ANN ARBOR, MI (WTOL) - The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor tested 737 toys for lead, mercury and arsenic.

Only one in three toys contained the toxins, which is the lowest number in three years. "Things do appear to be improving, and I think it's a sign that public pressure and government regulation work. We need more of it to truly protect kids health," said Gen Howe with The Ecology Center.

She adds that the decrease in toxins is proof that manufacturers can and do make toys free of unnecessary toxic chemicals. It's possible for all toys to be lead free, she says, because there are cost-effective substitutes.

Of all the toys purchased by Americans, 80 percent come from China. Though when it comes to toxins, Howe says it doesn't matter where the toys are manufactured. "There really is no association between where the toys are made and what we find. Problem is, we don't have adequate regulations in our country regardless of whether the toys are made here or elsewhere."

The Ecology Center says toxic toys are a symptom of the complete failure of the chemical regulatory system. The bottom line is that they should not be on store shelves. Until that problem is solved, at least the safety of toys are improving.

The center put up a website to search all 737 toys by product name, UPC code, product type, manufacturer or retailer.

Copyright 2009 WTOL. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.