Manufacturers disclose toxic chemicals in kids products

New reports filed with the state Department of Ecology show manufacturers continue to use toxic materials in products intended for kids.

The mandatory reporting is part of a state ruling that makes Washington the only state to require manufacturers to disclose the toxic metals and chemicals they're putting in kids products.

The good news, manufactures appear to be getting the lead out of children's products. Safety advocates at Washington Toxics Coalition say they're also finding less cadmium- which is linked to cancer. And fewer phthalates linked to hormone disruption in kids.

But a review of the latest manufacturers report reveals plenty of reason for continued concern. Manufacturers report thousands of kids products made with mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other toxins, including a variety of toxic phthalates.

"There really has been time for companies to phase these chemicals out of their products, " said Washington Toxic Coalition scientist Erika Schreder, "so it's really disappointing to see that they're continuing to use them."

But while the manufacturers disclose the toxic chemicals they're using, they are not required to disclose the exact products that contain the toxins. The state's Chilredn's Safe Products Act only requires general product descriptions, such as dresses, pajamas, games dolls and toys.

Schreder says the chemical reports are primarily for policy makers-information that allows lawmakers to target the companies and chemicals that warrant closer scrutiny.

But since the reports name the manufacturers, you can use the information provided on the Department of Ecology's database to call companies directly and find out if a specific toxin they listed is in the product you want to buy. Schreder says if you find a company unwilling to provide the information you need, you can send a strong message by not buying that product.

"And the more these companies hear from consumers, the more they're going to realize that people are concerned and really what we need to do is get these chemicals out of the product," Schreder said.