I wasn't planning on posting tonight, but a few days ago I received several emails about a new site, healthytoys.org..
The site was unable to open the first few times I checked, and I finally got in tonight. Now I can see why. The site is jam packed with useful information about toys you may have in your house, or on your Christmas/holiday list.
These folks have tested 1,268 toys and found lead paint in 35% of them. You read that right: 35%! They have a database that is search-able by brand, type of toy, and best and worst toys. For each their is a picture of a toy, and a breakdown of what chemicals are present (lead, mercury, PVC, cadmium and arsenic). This is an incredible resource, if you can, spend awhile researching what is in your home right now. I found a few items that are fine, and a few I will consider removing because of their medium PVC ratings.
There is also a Take Action link that wasn't working when I visited, but I will be sure to check back and send emails to my state and national representatives and sign a petition to toy manufacturers. Please consider taking action as well. We have to stop these companies from poisoning our kids and making a profit from doing so.
There is also a great section on general tips for toy buying that are helpful--here it is:
General Tips on Buying Safer Products for Kids
Buy less! The easiest way to avoid toys with toxic chemicals is to buy less! For some tips on reducing gift buying, see: "Simplify the Holidays".
Avoid toys that list vinyl or PVC as an ingredient (#3 plastic). Soft plastic toys like bath toys, squeeze toys, and dolls are commonly made of vinyl. If you're not sure if a toy contains vinyl or PVC try looking it up in our database. If you see high levels of chlorine, it is likely that the product contains PVC. If the product you are curious about is not in our database, ask the manufacturer or consider an alternative product.
Steer clear of vinyl lunch boxes; choose cloth lunch bags instead.
Choose uncoated cotton bibs instead of vinyl bibs, or choose bibs made of non-PVC plastic.
Avoid diaper covers, rain gear, and backpacks made of vinyl (PVC).
Choose mattresses made of wool, cotton, or natural latex that don't have vinyl covers.
Choose wool changing pads or portable fabric changing pads that do not have vinyl linings.
For a guide to safer plastics, see: http://www.iatp.org/ foodandhealth/
When possible choose plastic-free toys such as fabric teethers, unpainted wooden toys or cloth and plush toys. Polycarbonate plastic (#7 plastic) should also be avoided. For a guide to safer plastics, see: http://www.iatp.org/ foodandhealth/
Avoid children's metal jewelry and toys with small pieces, particularly magnetic pieces. For more information, see CDC's website on lead in jewelry
Check recall lists regularly, and if a toy has been recalled, send it back to the manufacturer. To receive email recall alerts from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Take action! We can't just purchase our way out of this problem. We need Government and industry to make our products safer!"
Visit this site, it is well worth it. Keep trying if it doesn't work. They are experiencing heavy site traffic. Doesn't that tell us a lot about our current state of affairs?