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Washington reports show chemicals of high concern in kids toys

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TRI-CITIES, Wash. - The Children’s Safe Product Act requires manufacturers of children's products sold in Washington to report if their product contains a Chemical of High Concern to Children.

Out of 80,000 on the market, there are currently 66 identified chemicals of concern manufacturers are required to report.

Earlier this month 87 companies reported the presence of chemicals of concern for children in their products sold in here in Washington, according to Washington Toxics Coalition.

These are chemicals like lead, cadmium, phthalates and flame retardants, which can cause serious health problems in children.

“It’s very difficult if you’re a parent to go into a store and look at a product and tell what chemicals are in that product,” said Andrew Wineke, from the Washington Department of Ecology.

Wineke said that’s why these kids’ products have to be tested in a lab.

Two companies reported the presence of the cancer-causing chemical cadmium at levels that, if their reports are accurate, would violate state law.

According to Washinton Toxics Coalition, Companies reporting violations of cadmium levels are: MGA Little Tikes, that reported cadmium in nonmotorized ride-on toys; and Dollar Tree, reporting as Greenbrier International, that reported cadmium in textiles of toys and games variety pack.

Dollar Tree also reported the presence of hormone-disrupting phthalates in toys over the federal limit. Phthalates are chemicals used to make basics more flexible, like a rubber ducky.

“The reason why we have these laws is because we want to make sure the manufacturers aren’t making these products in the first place,” Wineke said. “So the product testing that ecology does and that the federal government does – we try to find those products and get them off the selves.”

But these items reported are still on store shelves right now, toys that you could unknowingly bring home to your child.

Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals are still being reported in products. Washington state passed a ban on several flame retardants in kids' products and this ban will go into effect July 1, 2017.

Companies reporting the presence of flame retardants that will be banned under the new law include: MGA Little Tikes (outdoor play equipment), Michaels' Stores (jewelry craft materials), Target (toy vehicles), Dollar Stores/Greenbriar International (toys), Tween Brands, Inc (jewelry).

High levels of hormone-disrupting phthalates were reported in children's boots made by Gymboree, sweaters sold by GAP, and gloves sold by Claire's.

Wineke said there are few resources for parents to find out about the chemicals in their kids' toys, but he suggests parents to follow the EPA's program called Safer Choice, which has been evaluated as products with the safest chemicals available.

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