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Bad news for Halloween: 440,000 lead-tainted China-made toys recalled in U.S

Posted by Author on November 1, 2007

AFP, Oct. 31, 2007-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US authorities recalled some 440,000 Chinese-made toys Wednesday because of high levels of lead, just hours before US children were set to use some of them while celebrating Halloween.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 380,000 Galaxy Warriors figures, 43,000 sets of plastic disguise teeth, 16,000 sets of military-style Elite Operations action figures distributed by the global Toys R Us chain, and 1,500 Ribbit board games.

The toys were the latest in a raft of Chinese-made products aimed at children which have been removed from shelves in the United States because of high lead levels.

Surface paint on the poseable Galaxy Warrior spacemen figures, the “Ugly Teeth,” the frog-shaped wooden pieces in the Ribbit game sets, and the Elite Operations toys contained excessive levels of lead, prompting those recalls, the CPSC said in separate statements.

The consumer protection agency did not give details of the quantity of lead found in the toys.

Lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system of children, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and headaches, and is particularly dangerous if ingested.

The recall of the “ugly teeth,” which were found by an independent test team to contain 100 times the permissible level of lead, was the latest in the run-up to Halloween, which has already seen a record number of products recalled by the CPSC for lead violations.

But two Halloween items which were found by an independent test team to be tainted with the heavy metal were still on the market, hours before children in the United States went trick or treating.

“These are two small baskets decorated with painted ornaments — one a witch, the other a pumpkin. Paint on both ornaments was highly leaded,” Dr Jeffrey Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, who tested 54 children’s items for lead in the weeks leading up to Halloween, told AFP.

“Both were part of my the formal complaint I sent to the CPSC,” he said.

The latest round of recalls came amid calls for the resignation of CPSC chief, Nancy Nord, who has been accused by Democratic lawmakers of doing too little to stem the flow of dangerous toys from China into the United States.

Nord, an appointee of President George W. Bush, has followed the Republican executive’s deregulatory line and stood firm against proposed legislation seeking to increase the CPSC’s authority and staff.

The safety watchdog has one full-time toy tester, an expert report has said.

The CPSC was not immediately available for comment after Wednesday’s recalls.

– Original report from AFP : US recalls 440,000 lead-tainted Chinese-made toys

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