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Merry Christmas, Elmo Lives!

December 24th, 2008

Good news. Elmo Alive! is, well, alive — and well! And whew, just in time for Christmas.

So if you’ve got an Elmo Alive! under wraps for your favorite toddler, worry not. He might scare a kid or two not ready for a noisy red furball, but he won’t poison them. He’s non-toxic, according to a list just released by Healthy Toys.org.

Healthy Toys compiled a list of most popular toys based on votes from readers and then sent them (the toys not the readers) for lab testing. Tests revealed that none of the popular toys were “high” for toxins. Some were “medium” and many were ranked as “low”, like Elmo Alive!, meaning they contained no lead, bromine, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic or mercury (or in some cases only trace amounts considered safe).

So Elmo can remain faithful to his name and not endanger anyone.

This Healthy Toys project was developed in the wake of a nasty spate of lead-laced toys that sprung onto the market over the last two years, involving some of our kids’ beloved toy characters like Thomas the Tank and Curious George. (Tom and George are clean now). The gist of the problem in most cases was that toys made in China were oft painted with shiny cheap paints that contained lead. This big globalization downer hit the holiday toy market hard last year. And publicity dogged some of the American toymakers — who obviously hadn’t been watching the overseas toy making as studiously as needed.

Mattel recently paid $12 million to 39 states to settle legal actions over lead-tainted toys on the market in 2007. The cases involved some 21 million Chinese-made toys that the giant toy manufacturer pulled from the market starting in August 2007 after reports about lead paint on some toys and tiny magnets that children could accidentally swallow on others. All of these toys were off the shelves before December 2007.

Mattel also agreed to lower the acceptable level of lead in toys shipped to the states, which seems only fair considering that lead has been shown to negatively affect the cognitive abilities of children. (House paint containing lead was banned in the U.S. in the 1970s.)

So see, things can get better. Happy holidays.



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