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Department of Ecology reports most manufacturers following laws on children's toys

Tests on more than 200 children’s products sold in Washington show most manufacturers are following laws that regulate the use of toxic chemicals.
Though, in some of the children’s products tested, the state Department of Ecology found 15 potential violations on phthalates and seven potential violations on lead or cadmium. They also found two violations on toxic metals in packaging that came with children’s products.
Ecology notified manufacturers of potential violations and is working with state and federal partners to ensure compliance.
“Testing products is just one piece of a much larger toxics puzzle,” said Carol Kraege, who leads Ecology’s work to reduce toxics threats. “We’re doing our best to put the pieces together and figure out where toxic chemicals are used and how they are affecting us.”
Ultimately, Kraege says that the smartest, cheapest and healthiest way to protect people and the environment is to find safer alternatives for these chemicals.
Toxic chemicals, especially long-lasting ones that build up over time, can be found everywhere – in our air, land, water and bodies.
The testing focused on—and found—several classes of toxic chemicals:
  • Metals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, antimony and cobalt.
  • Phthalates, which are used to make plastic softer.
  • Parabens, which are used as preservatives in personal care products and cosmetics.
  • Formaldehyde and volatile organic chemicals.
Reports containing test results are on Ecology’s website. Parents can access the data manufacturers reported on toxics in children’s products by searching a database on Ecology’s website. They can also join the children’s safe products email list for periodic updates.
Ecology conducted the tests to determine whether manufacturers are complying with Washington’s Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA) and toxics in packaginglegislation. The tests were funded by a grant from the Washington Attorney General’s office.
CSPA requires companies to report their use of certain toxic chemicals in children’s products, and the packaging law restricts the use of four toxic metals.
People interested in Ecology’s work on toxics can follow the ECOconnect blog series Tackling Toxics. The series provides in-depth coverage of Ecology’s product testing and other actions the agency is taking to reduce toxic threats in Washington and a forum for Ecology to respond to comments and questions.
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