Less than two weeks after Fisher-Price removed a lead-tainted red blood pressure cuff from sale in Illinois because the plaything violated that state's lead standards, the Illinois attorney general has announced the same action for a green blood-pressure cuff that is part of another Fisher-Price medical kit.
On Friday, Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan warned that the same potential lead poisoning hazard exists with the green blood pressure cuff, which is found in the Sesame Street Giggle toy medical kit. (The red cuff is part of the classic Fisher-Price Medical Kit.) As in the previous announcement, Fisher Price will pull the product only from store shelves in Illinois—even though the toy kits are sold nationwide. And as before, the company is offering a replacement part for families who already own the toy; consumers can call 1-800-298-0638.
You may recall that the state's action with the first blood pressure cuff was prompted by Consumer Reports' December investigation "New worries over lead" in which we reported finding high lead levels when we tested samples of the red Fisher-Price toy blood pressure cuff, among other items. Our findings prompted Madigan's office to begin an independent investigation that led to Fisher-Price's decision to pull the product out of the state's stores. The reason: Illinois bans the sale of toys, clothing, jewelry or other children's products that contain lead in excess of 600 parts per million. It is one of the strongest lead laws in the country and more stringent than federal regulations, which place limits on only paint and surface coatings. There are no federal limits on lead in plastics such as PVC.
The current action with the green cuffs was initiated by Fisher-Price, which tested the product and then reported it to Illinois. Fisher-Price spokeswoman Juliette Reashor explained: "Through research, we identified a similar instance with the green cuff, which revealed levels of lead that, though fully compliant with all federal and international standards, exceeded the Illinois statute. We proactively reached out to the State of Illinois to inform them of our findings."
“I am pleased that Fisher-Price took the initiative to test its products, self-report a violation, quickly remove the affected blood pressure cuffs from store shelves, and offer replacements to consumers,” Madigan said. “I continue to urge manufacturers and retailers to review and tighten up their quality control procedures so consumers can be confident that the items on store shelves are safe for their children.”
The action once again illustrates the need for tighter federal regulations on lead in children's products. There's no reason that children in one state should be protected while those who live elsewhere are not.
I'm done with Fisher-Price. I can't believe that they will continue to sell this product, even though they know it's dangerous, because the federal government will let them. What about corporate responsibility! I spent three hours on the phone with Fisher Price discussing this very same subject when the first Consumer Reports article was published. They just kept repeating the same script to me "this product meets all federal and international standards for lead levels." However, when I challenged them to tell me what those standards were no one could tell me. BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE FOR VINYL. I kept saying that to them and they just kept repeating themselves. Taking absolutely no responsibility for their own products. It's like the tobacco companies conducting their own research, knowing that cigs kill people and then saying...'oh, well the government lets us do it so who cares’. Except we're talking about CHILDREN. If companies were forced to list lead levels on their product packaging (like food companies have to list nutritional content) NO PARENT in their right mind would purchase this blood pressure cuff. Because I couldn’t get a straight answer on the blood pressure cuff from Fisher Price or the CPSC I had to get my three kids blood drawn and tested. Contact your senators and get this gap closed! Fisher Price WAKE UP!
We as parents and grandparents must stand up to these corporations who have their products made in China. Although very difficult, I will purchase only American made toys that meet my standards, for my grandaughter. There are companies on-line and I intend to start early for toys next Christmas.