Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Monday, August 14, 2006

A lead issue in bendable toys distributed to libraries

August 9, 2006

Highsmith has recently had a lead content test completed on a sample of the Bendable Cat and Dog toys sold to public libraries through the Collaborative Summer Library Program. This test, completed by Analytical Process Laboratories Inc., Milwaukee, WI, confirmed an earlier report from the Indiana Board of Health that the lead content in these particular toys exceeds the maximum allowable limit under current federal regulations.

The sample Highsmith tested registered .277% lead content. The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 16, Section 1303 stipulates that lead may constitute no more that .06% of the weight of the paint applied to a toy.

At this time, Highsmith has discontinued sale of this item and recommends all libraries cease distribution of any remaining Bendable Cats and Dogs in their possession and issue a recall to all patrons who may have received this toy. To control the proper disposal of these Bendable Cats and Dogs, Highsmith requests that all customers contact us at 1-800-448-4887 to arrange for return shipment and to receive a credit or refund for the product cost.

On October 14, 2005, prior to distributing these toys through the Collaborative Summer Library Program, Intertek Testing Services tested the Bendable that was to be distributed by Highsmith. The test reported that the Bendable was in compliance with the applicable federal code. Highsmith has documentation of this test in its possession.

For more information on the hazards of lead, visit:

http://www.cpsc.gov/BUSINFO/leadguid.html or http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/publications/PrevLeadPoisoning.pdf

There's been some discussion back and forth on the PUBYAC (Public Library Services to Young Adults and Children) lists as to whether the toys distributed by the Oriental Trading Company were the same, although OTC has something on their website apparently that says they've been tested for lead and passed. Anyway, jsut wanted to make you aware if you weren't already.

I'd like to add my own personal concern about toys distributed to children that contain natural rubber latex. Many people, especially those with other allergies (the reason I seem to have been 'lucky' enough for this allergy, as I have no other risk factors), those who have have certain conditions like spina bifida or have had multiple surgeries (especially in the spine or bladder area), and those who have been exposed to latex through other medical procedures, may acquire this allergy, which in its most severe case can cause anaphylatic shock and death. This is one reason our hospital, which treats a population susceptible to latex allergy, allows only mylar baloons. (Not to mention the choking hazard of latex balloons). Bendable plastic is always suspect for latex, and, like the lead, may be a problem from children chewing or otherwise being in contact with the toy.

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