NY CPB: Tainted Toys Still on Shelves

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced that the state Consumer Protection Board's Safe Toys NY Campaign found that toys with unsafe lead levels remain on store shelves across the state. The findings resulted from the governor's call for a statewide investigation of toys being sold in New York and revealed retail practices are in need of improvement in order to protect consumers. While inspections found increased compliance with recall requirements, toys with unsafe lead levels were still being sold. Spitzer thus called on the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to immediately issue a national recall of newly identified products found during investigations and is calling for CPB to draft legislation to create and improve standards in the industry and better inform and protect consumers.

"It is startling to learn that tainted toys are still lingering on our shelves," Spitzer said. "I am calling on retailers to ensure that dangerous toys are removed from store shelves, and am strongly urging the CPSC to issue an immediate national recall of the products we identified, so that all kids can be protected and consumers can have confidence in the toys they purchase. The federal government, through the CPSC, has the responsibility to protect the public from unsafe toys, but a lack of funds and inadequate staffing hamper their ability to act in a timely manner. That leaves us with no choice but to act on our own to protect New Yorkers as soon as we become aware of a safety hazard, in this case, lead paint on toys."

In August, with mounting recalls of toys and other products, Spitzer directed the N.Y. CPB to launch a full-scale campaign around toy safety, and announced initiatives to help keep lead-contaminated and hazardous toys off store shelves. The board, with the help of the Departments of Health and Agriculture and Markets, then conducted sweeps of more than 2,800 stores looking for recalled products. Approximately 620 recalled toy items were still found on the shelves.

In addition, following strict protocols, a random sampling of toys was collected in three rounds from retail outlets in Albany and in New York City and tested by DOH’s Wadsworth Center, Spitzer said. The Center performed chemical analysis of the paint from each toy for lead content. The CPB was then able to track distributor information so that the appropriate actions could be taken. The three tainted toys, all bought in dollar stores and made in China, had paint that exceeded the federal standard of lead levels allowed in paint, which is 600 parts per million. The three toys are:

  • "Army Force" Car Set, which are green and black, Lot # ES35146, UPC Code 6010785146, and are imported by Encore Sales, Concord, Ontario, Canada;
  • "Sprite Tractor Trailer" toys, which are green and orange and have no identifying information on the packaging; and
  • "Wrestle Mania" action figures, which are multicolored and distributed by AA of America from New Jersey and also had no identification numbers on the packaging.

Information about recalls and the entire Safe Toys NY program is available on CPB's Web site at www.nysconsumer.gov, which is updated daily. The public is urged to participate in the program by providing recall feedback to recallfeedback@nysconsumer.gov or e-mailing the CPB at toytesting@consumer.state.ny.us to advocate for toy testing by manufacturers, retailers and others. CPB also encourages the public to become a "Consumer Crusader" by using the agency's Toy Safety Inventory Checklist to catalog their toys so they can be better prepared in advance of a recall. Recalls are also posted on the DOH website at www.health.state.ny.us.

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