The unhealthy toys list

Living on Earth

This year, for the second time, the non-profit Ecology Center in Michigan has come out with its healthy toys list – it's a hit list of sorts for the holiday season. Jeff Gearhart from the Center tells "Living on Earth's" Bruce Gellerman that his group tested 1500 toys and discovered that a third of them were toxic.

Gearhart: "We conducted close to 50,00 tests on the toys and we identified nine different chemicals in the toys that we consider chemicals of concern. And these include obvious things like lead and mercury and cadmium as well as a handful of other chemicals that we're concerned about.

"We found that one third of the toys we tested had significant levels of the chemicals of concern that we looked at."

Topping the list of the ten worst toys for lead: the Disney three heart, HM graphic necklace, and a Hannah Montana toy.

According to Gearheart: " ... we find jewelry is one of the most contaminated product segments out there. It is far more likely to have elevated levels of lead. We found a lot of Hannah Montana, High School Musical jewelry that had elevated levels of lead. We emphasize that it's not just lead that is a hazard in children's products. This year we also tested for bromine compounds in these products. Brominated flame retardants is a hazardous group of flame retardants that we look at, and we found that almost three percent or 45 of the products we tested had elevated levels of these chemicals in them. And these are completely unnecessary. You can make children's products that comply with flame retardancy standards without the use of these chemicals."

And the Wii from Nintendo is nubmer five on the list: "Many electronics, game consoles as well as items you would not consider toys, TVs and stereos and other electronic components use flame retardants in circuit boards and other components of the electronics. And we actually found more of these compounds this year than we did last year. And that's why we're pushing for more broader regulatory reform."

Read entire transcript.

Hosted by Steve Curwood, "Living on Earth" is an award-winning environmental news program that delves into the leading issues affecting the world we inhabit. More "Living on Earth.

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