Toys ‘R’ Us Recalls Wooden Coloring Cases Because of Excessive Lead

Toys ‘R’ Us is recalling 27,000 art kits made in China because both the packaging that holds the kits, as well as some of the paint, contain dangerous amounts of lead. The Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases are only the latest dangerous toys imported from China to be recalled for excessive lead content.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases were sold by Toys ‘R’ Us stores across the country between October 2006 and August 2007. The 213-piece kits include crayons, pastels, colored pencils, water colors, a paintbrush, pencil, pallet, white paint, ruler and pencil sharpener in a tan wooden box. Ink on the outer packaging of the wooden box contains high amounts of lead, as does black watercolor paint included in the set. The wooden coloring cases sold for around $20.00.

The CPSC said that no injuries have been reported from the contaminated coloring kits. But consumers who purchased the toy should take it away from children immediately. The Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases can be returned to the nearest Toys ‘R’ Us for a store credit.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and other health issues. Lead poisoning is extremely serious for young children because their brains are still developing. Symptoms of lead poisoning in children can include irritability; loss of appetite; weight loss; sluggishness; abdominal pain; vomiting; constipation and pallor from anemia. However, there are often no signs that a child has been exposed to lead. Parents who believe their children have been exposed should arrange for the child to have a blood test.

Lead-tainted children’s toys have become a huge problem in the past year. Lead was all but banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1980s, and most parents believed that this hazard had been eliminated from toys. But recent events prove otherwise. On August 15, Mattel Inc. issued a massive recall of Chinese-made toys, many of which had unsafe levels of lead. Two weeks earlier, Mattel’s Fisher-Price Unit recalled a million toys for lead paint contamination. Last week, the CPSC issued several lead-related toy recalls for children’s items that included Spongebob Squarepants notebooks and religious-themed jewelry. And in June, toy company RC2 issued a recall for more than a million Thomas the Tank Engine toys for a lead paint hazard. Every lead contamination recall has involved toys made in China.

All of the toy recalls have sparked demands for more action from parents, caregivers and consumer groups. Recently members of Congress have spoken of the need for more comprehensive toy testing, and others have called for legislation that would give the CPSC more muscle to police dangerous toys. But until some action is taken, parents and caregivers have no way of knowing if the toys they buy for their children are free of toxic lead.

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