Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guide to Toxic Toys

Before Santa (or Mom and Dad) decide to give little Suzy that Go Diego Go backpack, they may want to first check the database of toxic toys. The database includes test results for more than 1,200 toys and children's products and provides an overall product rating -- low, medium or high. Parents can search by toy name or browse by brand or type (construction toys, for example). The site also includes a list of best and worst toys.

Things to note:
  • With much fanfare (I read about it in yesterday's Washington Post), the site was just unveiled 12/5/07, and is thus experiencing heavy traffic. Be prepared for site delays during times of peak Internet usage.

  • The levels are not intended to correspond to levels known to cause health effects. Rather, they are meant to indicate whether these hazardous materials are in the toy and to provide an approximation of the concentration of the material in the toy surface.

  • If your toy isn't in the database, and you'd like them to test it for you, just view their list and cast your vote or nominate your toy. The site claims that they will test the most requested toys weekly.

  • At first you might be under the impression that in order to view any of the information on toys, the site requires you to sign in. When I first started poking around, I was presented with a form to fill out - "By providing your name and address, we can keep you up to date on opportunities to influence state, national and corporate policies on chemicals in toys, so that children's products are healthy for all kids and families." However, I just hit the back button and was able to browse toys by type, etc., without registering.