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Greenpeace Warns Of Lead Levels In Toys Environmental Group Says Some Vinyl Products Pose Risks

Fri., Oct. 10, 1997, midnight

Some vinyl toys and products for youngsters contain levels of lead and cadmium that could pose health risks, the environmental group Greenpeace said Thursday.

Greenpeace said its laboratory tests found that 25 of 131 products - from rain hats to a doll stroller - contained lead levels close to or higher than the proposed health standard of 200 parts per million in some vinyl window blinds.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission disputed the findings. But several independent medical experts who reviewed the tests called the results credible and said more studies should be done.

“It clearly calls for attention. It’s an important warning,” said Michael McCally of the Department of Community Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Some of the products examined by Greenpeace were found to have lead content of 17 to 100 times levels that worried the Consumer Products Safety Commission in its investigation last year of lead in window blinds.

But the federal consumer agency issued a statement disputing the Greenpeace findings. It said its own tests on 11 similar toy products did “not support (the Greenpeace) conclusion.”

The commission said seven products it tested signaled no lead or only “trace levels” of the metal, and higher levels found in two other products were not considered hazardous.

Commission experts also disputed Greenpeace’s contention that like vinyl window blinds, toys can deteriorate in sunlight and expose children to lead and cadmium powder. The experts “do not believe that the vinyl products tested by Greenpeace will deteriorate because they are not exposed to the same extent of sunlight and heat as the vinyl miniblinds,” the commission said.

Richard Maas, associate director of the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, which conducted some of the laboratory tests for Greenpeace, insisted that sunlight exposure caused lead releases from some of the products.

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