Illinois has tough laws when it comes to dangerous toys, and now Fisher-Price has found itself on the wrong side of the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, according to Consumer Reports.
Back in October, CR tested the Fisher-Price Medical Kit, a classic toy that has been sold for years, and found that the plastic used for the red blood pressure cuff was tainted with lead. Unfortunately, because there is no federal law regulating the amount of lead in PVC and plastic (just paint) Fisher-Price is refusing to pull the toy from the market.
Based on the levels of accessible surface lead we measured, we estimated that a child could potentially receive a dose of more than 15 micrograms of lead per day through foreseeable hand-to-mouth contact while playing with the toy. That amount could potentially increase a child’s risk of accumulating a blood lead level that exceeds 10 micrograms per deciliter–the threshold established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that generally triggers some form of intervention by doctors or public health officials.
Although we discussed our test results with Fisher-Price and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), neither took immediate action. Fisher-Price contends that the toy “is fully compliant” with all federal regulations, which CPSC confirms. But the federal regulation for lead in toys places limits on only paint and surface coatings. There are no federal limits on lead in plastics such as PVC. That’s a huge gap in the regulations that can leave children at risk for lead exposure.
CR says that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan heard about their test results and commissioned separate tests to see if the toy really did contain dangerous amounts of lead.
According to the attorney general, the tests of the blood pressure cuffs revealed lead levels of 4,500 ppm and 5,900 ppm, more than seven to nine times the limit of 600 ppm allowed by Illinois state law. “Parents and other consumers should act quickly to ensure that children do not continue to have contact with this product,” Madigan said.
At the request of Madigan’s office, Fisher-Price has agreed to remove the affected toy Medical Kit from store shelves in Illinois and offer a replacement part–free of lead–to families that already own the toy. When asked what kit owners in other states should do, Fisher-Price spokeswoman Juliette Reashor said, “If consumers in states other than Illinois have concerns about the red blood pressure cuff, they may contact Fisher-Price at 800-298-0638.”
She added that only the red cuffs are at issue. “The other colored blood pressure cuffs are made of different materials and are unaffected,” Reashor said.
Here’s what we would like to know: How can Fisher-Price refuse to recall the toy nationwide, while at the same time assuring parents that other colors are “unaffected?”
Hey, Fisher-Price, the toy is supposed to help kids pretend to be a doctor, not send them to see one for chelation therapy.
Fisher-Price pulls lead-tainted toy in Illinois but not other states [Consumer Reports]
Medical Kit [Fisher-Price]