Published October 29, 2007 07:23 PM

U.S. consumer group flags more toys with lead

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dishes, toys, jewelry and backpacks that have not yet been recalled all carry "worrisome" levels of lead, the nonprofit Consumers Union said on Monday.

The group's Consumer Reports magazine staff recommended that people immediately stop using some of the products tested.

"Our lab tests detected lead at widely varying levels in samples of dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets and other toys and items not on any federal recall list," the group wrote in a magazine report.

It said the items were not included in recent recalls. Last week the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 665,000 products, including Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boats from Mattel Inc's Fisher-Price division.

More than 20 million toys made in China have been recalled worldwide over the past four months due to potentially dangerous levels of lead and hazards posed by small magnets that can be swallowed.

Retailers and manufacturers have stepped up product testing, as high levels of lead can cause brain damage in children.



"We screened products from stores and consumers' homes in the New York metropolitan area using home lead testing kits and an X-ray fluorescence analyzer," the magazine article reads.

Consumers Union said some of the products it tested included a Fisher-Price blood pressure cuff from a toy medical kit, caps from seven Elmer's Glue Sticks and some duck-shaped backpacks.

"We detected the highest concentration of total lead, more than 10,000 parts per million, in a cuff that a child had regularly played with for the past two years," the group wrote.

The caps were on glue sticks decorated with cartoon characters and were all orange colored, the group added.

"What we envision is that a child will pull the cap off with their teeth will potentially chew on it," Donald Mays, who heads product safety planning for the group, said in a telephone interview.

Mays said the group used commercially available home lead testing kits.

"Any time that we saw a positive result with these kits and did more scientific testing for lead, we confirmed the presence of lead," he said.

The group said it also found lead in products that were unlikely to leach lead, even when chewed on by children, which raised less concern.

"There is no federal standard for lead in plastics, but the amount of lead detected in the glue stick caps was more than three times the 600 parts per million allowable for paint in the United States," the article reads.

"If you own those items, Consumers Union recommends that you remove them from use."

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