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The number of recalls for lead-contaminated toys has dropped by 97 percent in the United States in the decade since Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The CPSIA empowered the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect children from lead-contaminated toys and other dangerous toys, cribs and car seats. Lead is a known neurotoxin that can cause lifelong harm, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, aggressive behavior and serious long-lasting health impacts.
"Making the toy safety standard mandatory means parents don’t have to play detective looking for lead paint, sharp edges, or small parts," stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. "For too long, parents relied on slow or voluntary recalls from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and manufacturers. Since the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act ten years ago, mandatory toy testing often catches dangers before they get into the hands of children. Parents can now have more confidence than ever that their kids’ toys are safe."
While the CPSIA has made huge strides forward, companies still use lead-based paint in some products that are age-labeled for adults, but nonetheless are marketed to children and most people would classify them as toys. For instance, U.S. PIRG found in 2017 that the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass sold at Target had 300 times the allowable level of lead. After wide-ranging media coverage, Target took the product off the shelves.
The CPSIA also enabled the creation of strong standards on a wide range of products for small children, including cribs, play yards, strollers, infant swings and car seats. Danny’s Law was named after Danny Keysar, who died at 16 months old when a previously-recalled portable crib collapsed on him at a day care center. The law requires the CPSC to establish standards for most durable infant and toddler products and creates a system to enhance recalls for defective products. The law also created SaferProducts.gov, a public database that helps consumers report unsafe products and helps other consumers learn of potential hazards.
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