In response to the laundry list of unsafe toys and recalled children’s products in the past calendar year, the nation’s top two toy sellers in the U.S., Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us, have announced that they will be imposing stricter measures on their suppliers – including tougher lead content standards. According to an Associated Press report, the new measures are meant to exceed federal standards expected from Congress in the wake of last year’s recalls of millions of toys because they contained excessive amounts of lead or other hazardous material.
Among the announced changes, Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us are:
* Setting a much tighter standard for the amount of lead allowed on surface paint for toys shipped to their chains on or after March 1.
* Phasing out chemicals found in PVC or vinyl that have raised safety concerns for young children
A top priority is to dramatically reduce the lead content in unsafe toys since lead can be very toxic to children. The current federal standard is 600 parts per million in surface coatings, but new legislation is being considered that would lower that to 90 parts per million. Both Wal-Mart and Toys R Us are requiring their suppliers to conform to the 90 parts per million standard for products shipped on or after March.
“We made a commitment to the world that we would push forward toy safety as a top priority,” said Gerald L. Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us, which announced the measures Friday, February 15th. “This is not the last improvement that we will put in place..