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Toxic Holiday: Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead in Children’s Toys

Just in time (ish) for Christmas, we want to highlight a post from Peter Rothberg’s blog on The Nation’s web site. Peter brings to our attention the good work the folks at are doing.

They’ve tested more than 1,500 toys and children’s products for the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals and posted the results on their site. Their database is searchable by brand and type of toy, and they provide rankings from safest products to products of most serious concern. You can even send them a text message right from the toy store to get instant toy safety ratings.

For the second straight year, is highlighting test results for more than 1,500 toys and children’s products. Researchers at the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, tested more than 1,500 popular children’s toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals in time for this year’s holiday shopping season. The results are sobering: One in three toys tested were found to contain “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern.

Lead was detected in 20 percent of the toys tested this year. In fact, lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint, and will exceed the US legal limit in February, according to the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Levels of lead in many toys were significantly above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm of lead in children’s products. (Children’s jewelry remains the most contaminated product category, maintaining its spot at the top of’s “worst” list.)

The site’s utility allows ease of use for busy parents and children’s advocates. Type in “Dora,” and several varieties of toys appear. Click on a specific toy, and up pop product ratings based on test results for lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury. The ratings range from low- to high-risk. A primer on the hazards of each substance and a breakdown of which components were tested lets consumers evaluate the risk.

Read the whole article here.

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start.Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes developed […] Read More..

May Roundup: News, Views & Stuff You Can Use

The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases. Permaculture Advice For Beginners. Hint: Start Small Interested in applying a permaculture approach to your land, […] Read More..

Tasty Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

As much as we love pumpkins, sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to take advantage of all those nourishing seeds. Packed with rich nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and plant-based omega-3s, these seeds are certainly worth the extra effort in the kitchen.  If you’re tired of the standard roasting drill, try some […] Read More..

Poisoned for Profit, How Toxins are Making our Children Chronically Ill

Alice Shabecoff, author of Poisoned for Profit along with her husband Philip, speaks to a meeting of the National Disease Clusters Alliance. The book was written to answer the question, “Why is my child sick?” The answer, according to the Shabecoffs’, is constant exposure to toxic chemical by-products from industrial processes–and millions of children are […] Read More..