New Westchester Report Finds Toxic Toys Throughout County

Articles | December 10, 2014

Health and environmental advocates today unveiled a report, “Toxic Toys in Westchester County,” detailing the presence of toxic chemicals like mercury and cadmium in children’s toys and products.

The dangerous chemicals have been linked to cancer, cognitive impairments, hyperactivity and genetic disorders in children. All of the toys and products tested were purchased in Westchester County over the last several weeks. The report is a joint project of Clean and Healthy New York and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

“As we enter into this holiday season, it is important to keep in mind the safety of the toys we give our children,” said Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia. “Many toys that retailers currently have for sale may contain poisonous chemicals, which can result in serious illness to those who come into contact with them. The use of safety equipment to adequately test these potentially dangerous toys can help to block some of them from ever reaching our communities. This is why I will be introducing legislation which will require testing on toys for sale by retailers which may contain certain dangerous chemicals, potentially preventing them from ever reaching our children.”

“Toxic Toys in Westchester County” identified several toxic substances in numerous products:

  • Antimony in six products: jewelry, clothing, a doll, a key chain and a toy train.
  • Cadmium in eight products: a keychain, jewelry, clothing, toy cars, a toy train and a penlight.
  • Cobalt in four products: a keychain, jewelry and accessories.
  • Lead in three products: jewelry and accessories.
  • Mercury in two products: in a wooden flower necklace and toy cars

Researchers visited Target, Party City, Walmart, The Children’s Place, Macy’s, Spencer’s and Lord & Taylor stores in Westchester County in November and December 2014.

“This report confirms that action is needed to protect the health of families in Westchester,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. “It’s horrifying to consider that a well-intended gift might contain secret toxins. Toxic chemicals have no place in children’s toys, and they should not be on store shelves for sale. Parents deserve the right to know what dangers are lurking in the products they bring home, so they can make informed decisions about their families’ health.”

“No parent wants to find out that the clothes, jewelry or toys they give their children contain chemicals that could hurt them. Yet our testing confirms this reality. Westchester County can give its residents a huge holiday gift this year by passing the Toxic Free Toys Act. Companies are able to make children’s products without toxic chemicals – that means they have no excuse for not doing so, and the law should require it,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, Deputy Director for Clean and Healthy New York, who tested the products in the report.

“At this time of year, so many people go out of their way to show the children in their lives how much they’re loved with thoughtful gifts,” said John Delfs, M.D. “It’s shocking to learn that some of those gifts contain dangerous concentrations of chemicals like lead, mercury and arsenic. Children are uniquely susceptible to toxic chemicals. Exposures to chemicals like these, especially during growth of brain and nervous system in childhood, can cause irreversible damage—including neurological defects and cancer. We have a special obligation to ensure the safety of our children and keep toxic chemicals out of their toys.”

Download the full report on Toxic Toys in Westchester County.

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Clean and Healthy New York advances broad policy and market changes to promote safer chemicals, a sustainable economy and a healthier world.

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund  (NYLCVEF) engages and educates New Yorkers on environmental issues and the environmental decision-making processes at the local, regional, state and federal government levels. NYLCVEF fosters open, nonpartisan discussion on environmental policy and empowers New Yorkers to be effective advocates on behalf of the environment.

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