U.S. toy recalls down in fiscal '11

Dec. 22, 2011 at 2:07 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- There were 34 toy recalls in fiscal year 2011, down from 46 toy recalls in fiscal year 2010, 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008, U.S. officials said.

Consumer Product Safety Commission officials said stronger federal rules are making a positive impact and restoring confidence in the safety of toys.

New toy safeguards include:

-- Establishing the lowest lead content and lead paint limits in the world.

-- Setting a stringent limit on the use of certain phthalates, compounds the Phthalate Esters Panel of the American Chemistry Council says are used primarily to soften vinyl. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates phthalates as pollutants, the non-profit Environmental Working Group says on its Web site.

-- Converting voluntary toy standards into mandatory standards.

-- Requiring third-party testing and certification of toys designed or intended primarily for children age 12 and younger.

-- Closing in on new limits for cadmium in toys.

-- Working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to track shipments in transit from other countries, thereby increasing seizure of dangerous imported toys.

These safeguards, along with safety-conscious steps taken by many toy makers and sellers, have contributed to a continued decline in toy recalls, officials said.

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