Even as shoppers await Black Friday, the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season, consumer advocates at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have released a list of more than a dozen toys on store shelves that are basically dangerous and defective products, which violate federal safety standards for lead and other hazardous chemicals. According to an Associated Press news report, the group’s report states that many toys that are being sold this Christmas may also pose serious choking hazards.

The dangerous and defective toys named in this report include a whirly wheel, a plastic book for babies, a wooden blocks set and even a Sesame Street brand Oscar doll. PIRG warns consumers about toys that are too loud and could lead to hearing damage as well as balloons, which cause more choking deaths than any other children’s product. According to the report, about 40 percent of the choking fatalities reported to the government between 1990 and 2010 involved balloons.

List of Toxic Toys

But the biggest problem in toys this year related to the unacceptably high levels of industrial chemicals and toxins in toys. High levels of lead in toys can cause irreversible brain damage and some studies have linked phthalates to reproductive problems. Here is a list of top dangerous toys according to PIRG’s “Trouble in Toyland” report:

Claire’s Sleep Mask (Toxic: Phthalates)
Little Hands Love Book (Toxic: Lead)
Whirly Wheel by LL (Toxic: Lead)
Sprtiz Medals (Toxic: Lead)
Hello Kitty Eyeshadow (Toxic: Lead)
Disney’s Tinkerbell Watch (Toxic: Lead)
Peace Sign Bracelet, Dollar Store (Toxic: Lead)
Honda motorcycle toy (Toxic: Lead)

Toy Recalls

Statistics by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that toy recalls have declined. There were 34 in 2011, down from 46 recalls the previous year, 50 in 2009, and 172 in 2008. A 2008 law that set stronger standards for children’s products including strict limits on lead have helped curb the flooding of our stores with lead-tainted toys. However, it has not been enough to keep these tainted toys away from our children. As we see, phthalates, cadmium and lead still pose significant health risks to our children. For more information on this topic, please read the “Trouble in Toyland” report.