NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The U.S. Public Interest Research Group is out with its annual warning of toys that can be hazardous to children.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports

When shopping for kids this holiday season, for many, toy safety is the primary concern.

A report released Tuesday from PIRG found just over a dozen toys on store shelves that violate federal safety standards for lead and chemicals called phthalates or could present a choking hazard to small children.

Spokesman Mark Walsh says for example, a pair of novelty glasses discovered at a dollar store were found to contain an enormous amount of phthalates, a dangerous toxin in plastic.

“The toxins in plastics have been proven to leak when they are chewed on or
when the child puts them in their mouth,” he said.

Walsh says many toys on the shelves can be especially dangerous to kids ages 3 and under.

EXTRA: Read The Full Report

Among the toys deemed potentially dangerous included a whirly wheel, a plastic book for babies, a wooden blocks set and a Sesame Street Oscar doll.
PIRG also warned about toys that are too loud and could lead to hearing damage.

“National research has shown that one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12,” said Nassima Hussein, a public health advocate with PIRG. “This may be in part to many children using toys and other children’s products such as music players that emit loud sounds.”

The report also found balloons cause more choking deaths than any other children’s product. About 40 percent of the choking fatalities reported to the government between 1990 and 2010 involved balloons.
The toy industry downplayed the report and pointed to government figures showing sharp declines in national toy recalls.
PIRG tested toys and other children’s products from major retailers and dollar stores for its 26th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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