Empire State Consumer Project recently held its 46th annual Children’s Product Safety Press Conference at Pittsford Public Library.
ESCP warns parents that many products still contain toxics that are harmful to children, including fidget spinners, silk-screened children’s clothing, adult laxatives, coal tar driveway sealants, glyphosate, dressers and metal jewelry.
Many fidget spinner toys contain lead, some at high levels. Target carries spinners with extremely high lead labeled for ages 14 and older. The Consumer Product Safety Commission classifies most spinners as general use products and not toys, even though they are marketed to children, found in toy departments and manufactured by toy companies. Pieces of spinners can break off, causing a choking hazard. Some contain lithium coin cell batteries, also a choking hazard.
A number of pieces of silk-screened clothing that were tested by ESCP this year were found to contain lead, a neurotoxin, which can cause serious health problems and developmental delays. Young children often chew on their clothing, especially shirts.
Since the Food and Drug Administration granted ESCP’s petition to study the effects on children of adult polyethylene glycol laxatives, news stories across the country this year have led to an increase in membership in the Parents Against Miralax Facebook group from 3,000 to over 22,300 members. Parents are sharing almost identical stories stories of neuropsychiatric events in their children. The FDA study is yet to be completed.
The group warns that driveway sealants containing coal tar should be avoided due to its carcinogenic properties and release of particles where children play and into homes. When buying sealant for home use, look for products that are coal tar-free. When hiring a driveway sealing contractor, ask for safety data sheets on all products used to be sure they do not contain coal tar. Towns around the country are starting to ban these products.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in weed killer products like Roundup, is dangerous to children and pets. The World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Researchers found this year that glyphosate in pregnant women correlated to unfavorable birth outcomes, including shorter pregnancies and lower birth weights.
A number of deaths this year were caused by furniture falling on children. CPSC recommends that dressers and other tall furniture and TVs be attached to the wall with straps.
ESCP’s testing of metal jewelry from China often contains lead and cadmium, and should not be purchased for or given to children. Manufacturers are using adult labels on products appealing to children.
Holiday shopping can be difficult for those wanting to avoid these dangers. ESCP recommends avoiding metal jewelry without a country of origin label; metal or painted toys from China; soft plastic toys from China; art materials not labeled “Conforms to ASTM D-4236”; toys with small parts; whistles, tiny harmonicas or any toy meant for the mouth; toys with magnets; pacifiers with attached stuffed animals; hats and outerwear with drawstrings; crib pillows, toys and bumpers; secondhand cribs, playpens, car seats, high chairs and play seats; and body products and perfumes containing toxics.
Visit empirestateconsumerproject.blogspot.com for information.