Press Releases

Valentine’s Day Toys Found with High Levels of Lead

Oakland, CA- Valentine’s Day stuffed animal toys sold by national
retailers including Rite Aid and Longs (owned by CVS Stores) have been found to
contain high levels of lead, according to testing by the Center for
Environmental Health (CEH). The toys contain lead at levels that violate the new
national standards for children’s products, slated to come into force on
February 10. The lead levels found in one of the stuffed animal toys was more
than fifteen times higher than the new federal limit.

“A Valentine’s Day
toy that could be harmful to your kids just doesn’t say “love,” said CEH
Research Director Caroline Cox. “Parents need to know that these toys are a lead
poisoning threat.”

The stuffed animal toys are “sing and dance” animals
holding red plastic guitars. In each case, the plastic guitar was found to
contain high amounts of lead. CEH has previously found high lead levels in
plastic baby bibs, lunchboxes, rain ponchos and other children’s products, and
has forced producers to reformulate their products to eliminate these lead
threats to children.

Last year, the Center’s work in exposing lead
threats to children from toys and other children’s products helped prompt
Congress to enact the first-ever comprehensive national standards for lead in
children’s products. CEH has recently held numerous toy testing events
throughout the Bay Area, and the nonprofit’s work in identifying and testing
lead-tainted toys that are still being sold was featured last month in the Wall
Street Journal (
) and other national media.

The stuffed animal toys are made by a Chinese
company, Dan Dee International Limited, which has its U.S. headquarters in
Jersey City, NJ. Dan Dee calls itself “one of the largest manufacturers in China
in the product categories [it] participate[s] in.” In addition to Rite Aid and
Longs, Dan Dee states that it manufactures products for Wal-Mart, Kmart, ShopKo,
Sears, Walgreens, JoAnns, Michaels, Costco and other retailers.

CEH has
notified Dan Dee and reported its findings to the California Attorney General’s
office, which is alerting the retailers today. In December, the Attorney General
reached a legal agreement with several toy makers who agreed to adopt the new
federal standards immediately (see
) . CEH received a grant to conduct toy testing from the Toy Testing and
Outreach Fund that was established by the AG’s toy settlement within the Public
Health Trust.
Photographs of the toxic toys: