Public interest group finds toxic toys still available at many stores, online

Photo Gabor Degre

Photo Gabor Degre

It’s the last thing anyone buying a special gift for a child this season wants — but it’s a reality none the less. Despite many regulatory changes, dangerous and toxic toys are still being sold and available on the shelves of stores across America, through online retailers and most likely in Maine as well.

The yearly survey by the US Public Interest Group entitled “Trouble in Toyland 2014,” identified 24 toys that pose threats to children due to toxic chemicals like lead, choking hazards or powerful toy magnets.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys,” Sujatha Jahagirdar, public health campaign director for the organization said in a statement.

Toys included on the “toxic list” this year includes a Dora The Explorer backpack, a Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Figurine Playset and a leopard pattern rubber duck. The full list is available on the U.S. PIRG website.

The report recommends keeping the following guidelines in mind to reduce the risk of danger when purchasing gifts for children:

  • Watch for small pieces. Despite a ban on small parts for toys designed for children under the age of the three, the survey found several items for sale both in stores and online containing small parts.
  • Watch for loud sounds or music. While the survey did not find any toys that violated federal noise limits, the organization did say it feels the rules regarding loud toys should be strengthened for the sake of children’s auditory health.
  • Avoid magnets. Small, powerful magnets are dangerous to children if swallowed. And while many have been taken off the shelves, some magnet sets designed for children to play and build with, still contain them.
  • Ask about store product safety policies.”Parents should avoid shopping at stores that have not adopted a publicly available corporate policy on toxics in their products,” Jahagirdar said.
  • Report unsafe toys. Find something concerning? Report potential safety problems at

Go to to see the full list.

Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.