In our December investigation,“New worries over lead,” we reported finding high lead levels when we tested samples of a red Fisher-Price toy blood pressure cuff, among other items. As a result of our findings and an independent investigation by the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Fisher-Price is now voluntarily pulling the toy from store shelves in Illinois and offering families who own one a free replacement.
The red blood pressure cuff is part of the Fisher-Price Medical Kit, a classic toy that has been sold for several years. We found high lead levels embedded in the red plastic arm band as well as on the surface of the arm band, which we determined could easily rub off on the hands of a child playing with the toy. Based on the levels of accessible surface lead we measured, we estimated that a child could potentially receive a dose of more than 15 micrograms of lead per day through foreseeable hand-to-mouth contact while playing with the toy. That amount could potentially increase a child's risk of accumulating a blood lead level that exceeds 10 micrograms per deciliter—the threshold established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that generally triggers some form of intervention by doctors or public health officials.
Although we discussed our test results with Fisher-Price and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), neither took immediate action. Fisher-Price contends that the toy "is fully compliant" with all federal regulations, which CPSC confirms. But the federal regulation for lead in toys places limits on only paint and surface coatings. There are no federal limits on lead in plastics such as PVC. That’s a huge gap in the regulations that can leave children at risk for lead exposure. Congress is currently working on federal legislation that will close the gap and, if passed, will regulate lead in all children's products. Consumers Union has been supporting this effort, which promises to reduce children's risk of lead exposure.
Illinois filled the gap in federal regulations by passing a law last year that limited lead in all children’s products, whatever the material, to 600 parts per million (ppm)—matching the federal limits on lead paint. When Illinois heard of our test results on the toy cuff, the Attorney General’s office bought two of the red cuffs and had them tested at a certified testing facility. According to the attorney general, the tests of the blood pressure cuffs revealed lead levels of 4,500 ppm and 5,900 ppm, more than seven to nine times the limit of 600 ppm allowed by Illinois state law. “Parents and other consumers should act quickly to ensure that children do not continue to have contact with this product,” Madigan said.
At the request of Madigan's office, Fisher-Price has agreed to remove the affected toy Medical Kit from store shelves in Illinois and offer a replacement part—free of lead—to families that already own the toy. When asked what kit owners in other states should do, Fisher-Price spokeswoman Juliette Reashor said, "If consumers in states other than Illinois have concerns about the red blood pressure cuff, they may contact Fisher-Price at 800-298-0638."
She added that only the red cuffs are at issue. "The other colored blood pressure cuffs are made of different materials and are unaffected," Reashor said. Fisher-Price is continuing to feature the kit on its Web site. Reashor added that Fisher-Price has advised its online retailers that the kit with the red cuff should not be sold to consumers in Illinois. Amazon.com and Toys 'R' Us stopped selling the kit with the red cuff nationwide after our report came out in November.
All this leaves us asking: Are children in Illinois better protected than kids in the rest of the country? We are hopeful that the pending federal legislation will put an end to this ludicrous inequity and protect children in all states equally.
Madigan, whose office enforces the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, has been pro-active about tackling lead issues. Last week the Attorney General introduced the Safe Shopping Guide, a 91-page color directory of hundreds of recalled children’s products. Consumers can download the guide from the Attorney General’s Web site.
Video: How we test for lead
Consumer Reports tested for lead and found it in a variety of products. Watch the video.
Pls recall all lead based toys!
Please recall this product EVERYWHERE! It is not OK to sell this product anywhere if it is unsafe enough to recall in Illinois.
There are Children in all States. So all States need to have the recall.
Fisher-Price should be shut down until they stop selling toys with lead. It’s not just a hazard for children in Illinois. I wish the US government would step in and do something about this. At least we in the US would be safer. Then it’s up to individual countries to take action. Personally I am boycotting Fisher-Price. Everyone should do the same until they change.
FP; Are you own kids playing with this toy?
I doubt it.
stop poisoning our children for money
Those of us who care about children should boycott all the companies that continue to churn out dangerous toys. The holiday season would be the time to do it. This has got to stop.
I am a grandparent and I have sent my children this info. Also, I sent it to my sisters & nieces who have young children in their families. Maybe a boycott against Fisher-Price will get your attention. That is what I am suggesting to my relatives.
You've been a leader in our industry for years. We have always depended on you for the best in quality.
Please don't let us down now.
I've taught special needs children for years and recall the children we had in classrooms as a result of lead in the paint of older homes. It's a heartwrenching experience.
Thanks for your concern and leadership in this cause.
Fisher Price will never see a dime of my money in the future. They should be prosecuted as criminals!!
The fact that Fisher Price will not pull the product in other states is awful. I just found out about this and my two and 1/2 year old has had this kit for about a year. Now I am worried.
FP needs to be proactive about this to insure our kids products are lead-free, not just meeting the Federal standards that are woefully outdated and have limited enforcement.
Why do we have to pressure them to do the right thing for our kids?
I have a one and a half year old who recently had lead in her blood. We live in a brand new house and they tested everything but the toys. I took away the ones that were already on recall but her level still rose. she has to have her blood checked every two months until it gets below a 10. They have the blood pressure kit and I had no idea it contained lead until now and she has been playing with it this whole time.
This is outrageous and all about making money for FP as well as other toy manufacturers. So many products are made in China, we have sold out our own country for the mighty dollar. What if our specifications were in place BEFORE other countries were allowed to make and ship our products, not after we have already doled out the money to make our own children sick. There is a rise in autism, ask yourself "Why"? World trade is great, but not at the expense of all children of the world.
Our government should form a committee regulating these toys in t he market.. This committee should test together with the Department of Health to assured these toys were Lead free.. And to all manufacturer of toys,, they should be more cautious in public health..