Keeping our Kids Safe from Tainted Toys
As mothers, there is no greater concern than the safety of our children. Yet with the recent reports of lead in toys for kids, moms and dads now have a new worry. If the recalls of toy jewelry, trains, and Halloween candy pails weren't upsetting enough, yesterday we learned that Halloween "Ugly Teeth" were recalled —on Halloween day itself! Lead in toys is unacceptable; lead in toys children are supposed to put in their mouth is criminal.
This summer, 20 million imported toys that were manufactured overseas were recalled—some of which contained nearly 200 times the legal limit for lead. The most heartbreaking for me was the recall of some Thomas the Tank Engine toys, a favorite among my five grandsons.
We must make sure that government lives up to its responsibility to protect our children. Parents should not have to buy a lead testing kit before letting their children play. We have a consumer protection agency to do that. Yet at the Consumer Safety Protection Commission, there is only one inspector charged with testing toys to make sure they are safe for our children. And recently, when the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission was asked by Congress if she would request an increase of resources and funding for the commission, she refused to support this much needed action. I know we can do better.
Congress is determined to help parents who are frustrated. That is why we are working to pass legislation that will ban lead from children's toys, require testing of children's products by independent, third-party laboratories, and provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission with significantly greater resources to protect our families. For too long, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has failed to protect kids from hazardous levels of lead in their toys.
The evidence of how lead in toys harms children is overwhelming. Many years of research have shown that exposure to this neuro-toxin can have serious long-term effects, particularly on children. While the recent recalls have brought the issue to popular attention, the problem is, unfortunately, not a new one. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, millions of pieces of toy jewelry were recalled due to unsafe levels of lead.
With this legislation, we will ensure that there are no more stories like that of Jarnell Brown, a four-year-old who died in 2006 after swallowing a charm on a bracelet that contained over 99 percent lead. But we need your help. Get in touch with your Representative and Senator, and urge them to support legislation to protect our children.
I want to thank the MomsRising community for working to eliminate toxic toys. By passing this legislation and continuing our vigorous oversight, we will work to make certain not one more child is harmed by the toys we give them – our children deserve nothing less, and certainly much more.