Toy Industry Clams Up About Chemicals, USA Today Ad Shows

Mickey Mouse, Bulwinkle and Mr. Potato Head posed recently in the classic

“hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” stance under the headline “What

Chemicals Are in Toys?” in a USA Today newspaper advertisement

sponsored by Environmental Defense.

Environmental Defense discovered last year that government regulators do not

know what chemicals are contained in children’s products, including toys.

Environmental Defense executive director Fred Krupp late last year asked the

heads of major toy manufacturers to disclose their products’ chemical

ingredients voluntarily. But after a promising dialogue, the toy industry decided

that disclosing the chemicals used in toys would be “misleading.”

“Environmental Defense believes consumers are entitled to know what

chemicals their children are being exposed to,” said Environmental Defense

senior attorney David Roe. “Since the government doesn’t know, the

manufacturers are the only ones who can tell us.”

The ad displayed the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) statement: “We

do not believe that providing the consumer with knowledge of the chemical

ingredients of toys will . . . advance the safety of toy products or the

protection of consumers. In fact, it may mislead them.” The full text of TMA’s

letter to Environmental Defense can be found at online.

“Environmental Defense hopes the toy manufacturers will recognize that

what’s good for their customers is good for them,” said Roe. “When it comes

to chemicals, hands over eyes is not a reassuring stance.”

For the full text of the industry’s position, the ad itself, and more background,

visit online. This release grants

permission to reproduce the ad, in whole or in part, to all legitimate news

organizations without charge.

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