Has This Toy Been Tested for Toxic Chemicals? Text “healthytoys” to 41411 and Find Out!
December 18, 2007
Just in Time for Holiday Shopping, MomsRising.org Launches Text Message System to Identify Contaminated Toys
Many parents are finding the Christmas holidays more stressful than usual this year due to the large number of popular toys which tests have revealed contain lead and other toxic chemicals. To make holiday shopping a little less stressful, the online grassroots organization MomsRising.org has developed a fast and easy way for shoppers to learn if particular toys contain toxins using their cell phones. The group has developed a text messaging system that uses a database developed by the Washington Toxics Coalition and the Michigan-based Ecology Center.
Parents can simply text “healthytoys” and the name of a particular toy to 41411 to find out whether that toy contains toxic chemicals. MomsRising.org will respond instantly with a message, based on comprehensive tests of more than 1,200 toys featured on the online platform, HealthyToys.org. For example, if you text “healthytoys polly pocket car” to 41411, you’ll receive a text message back saying: “TOXIN LEVELS DETECTED - LOW: Polly Pocket Car Cool Friends by Mattel.”
“Holiday shopping is hard enough without having the added burden of being concerned you’ll buy a child a toy contaminated with toxic chemicals,” said MomsRising.org Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “This new text message system is fast and easy and will help people find chemical test results for toys.”
Shoppers can also find out product ratings while they’re in the store by texting “healthytoys low [store name]” (e.g. Target) to 41411, and they’ll receive a message back with a list of the toys which are rated “low” for lower levels of toxic chemicals. People who shop online can visit www.healthytoys.org for the detailed results of all the testing. The web site lists toys by type and brand, or individuals can search for particular toys. For each of the 1,200 toys and children’s products tested, the web site provides an overall “low,” “medium,” or “high” rating indicating the levels detected of chemicals of concern. It also lists the individual levels detected for four chemicals of concern which can be detected using XRF technology: lead, cadmium, chlorine/PVC, arsenic and mercury.
“We tested toys for lead and other toxic chemicals because the government and toy companies aren’t making sure toys are safe for kids,” said Erika Schreder, Staff Scientist at Washington Toxics Coalition. “With HealthyToys.org, consumers can find out what’s in more than 1,200 toys and send a message to state and federal policymakers that toys are no place for toxic chemicals like lead.”
“The government is not testing for toxic chemicals in toys, and too many manufacturers are not self-regulating, so we created the nation's first toy database to help inform and empower consumers,” said Jeff Gearhart, Campaign Director of the Ecology Center. “Ultimately consumers need to compel the federal government and toy manufacturers to eliminate dangerous chemicals from toys.”
HealthyToys.org selected these elements and related or associated chemical compounds because they have been identified by many regulatory agencies as problematic chemicals and because of their toxicity or suspected toxicity, persistence, and/or their tendency to build up in people and the environment.