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Good and Bad News for Holiday Shoppers: Top Toys Are Safe, But Some Lead-Tainted Products Remain

ImageOakland, CA-Testing by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has found that toys listed as among those expected to be the most popular for this year’s holiday shopping season are free from lead hazards. But the Center’s recent testing has found lead problems in several children’s products, including a Sanrio “Hello Kitty” doll dress-up set, a child’s NFL lunchbox from TJ Maxx, and a backpack from Big Lots. An adult necklace from Styles for Less that was marked “lead-free” was found with a clasp that was 25% lead, more than four times the legal limit for adult jewelry in California. Other jewelry with lead content in violation of California law was found at Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, Sears, and Walmart.

The California Attorney General’s office has notified Sanrio, Big Lots and TJ Maxx that the children’s products violate the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The Attorney General has also informed Styles for Less and the other retailers about the adult jewelry violations. Sears told the Attorney General yesterday that they have pulled the item from their stores.

Additionally, CEH tested a reusable children’s panda shopping bag purchased online from and found more than double the legal limit for lead. The item no longer appears on the company’s website.

“With our expertise and commitment to truly green operations, CEH can help any business do well by doing better in their IT purchasing and management,” said Sue Chiang, Sustainable Electronics Program Director at the Center for Environmental Health. “While it’s critical to stay up-to-date on the latest IT systems, it’s also important for businesses to use their buying power to demand the most energy efficient and least environmentally harmful products. This is our expertise, which is new ground even for many seasoned IT professionals.”

“It’s good to see that the top selling toys are not a lead threat, but there are still a few lead problems on store shelves,” said Caroline Cox, Research Director at CEH. “Our hope is to erase all of the hidden lead hazards in stores, but for now it’s an almost lead-free holiday season.”

CEH is a member of the Get the Lead Out coalition, which last week held a toy testing event in Union Square. The nonprofit is also holding free toy testing events through Christmas in Oakland, Marin, Berkeley, and San Mateo. CEH also contributes to the database, which lists the toxic hazards in thousands of toys and other products.

CEH is testing children’s products for compliance to the federal and California laws as part of a state compliance testing program, and is funded for this work by a grant from the California Attorney General that is administered by the nonprofit Public Health Trust. The nonprofit also tests jewelry for compliance with a legal agreement and with California law using a grant from the Proposition 65 Jewelry Testing Fund. The fund was established through litigation brought by the California Attorney General, CEH, and others.

The list of top selling toys, pictures of products found with high lead levels, and other information is at


Top Toys Found Lead-Safe in Testing by CEH

Zhu Zhu Pets (Bamboo)

Disney Fairies Collection

Stinky the Garbage Truck

Imaginext Bigfoot the Monster

FurReal Friends Furry Frenzies (Scoot & Scurry City)

Sing-A-Ma-Jigs (pink and purple)


Lalaloopsy Peanut Big Top

NERF N-Strike Stampede ECS Blaster

Loopz Memory Music Game

Pillow Pet (Purple Unicorn)