Toy Industry Clams Up About Chemicals, USA Today Ad Shows

June 11, 2001
Mickey Mouse, Bulwinkle and Mr. Potato Head pose today 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.”

Today’s ad, running in regional editions of USA Today, coincides with the International Council of Toy Industries meeting currently taking place in Los Angeles.

The ad displays 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.