State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

State Auditor, PennPIRG warn of boron, data collection, and other risks in toys

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 20, 2018 5:12 PM

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale urged lawmakers to pass a toy recall bill he had introduced as a member of the House. (Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- As others in the state Capitol prepared to bring in the building's annual Christmas tree, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held his own version of a holiday celebration.

He hosted several representatives from the Pennsylvania chapter of the Public Interest Research Group, who recently released their 33rd annual holiday toy advisory.

This one includes warnings about 15 different toys, out of 40 tested.

The group cautioned parents to check jars of slime--popular among children--for high levels of nausea-causing boron. The advisory warns that often, balloons marketed toward young children don't carry a choking hazard warning.

And it says parents should be aware of "smart" toys that can collect and store data, as it is sometimes sold to third parties for ad purposes.

DePasquale also has some broader safety advice of his own.

"Put a freaking helmet on," he said. "I mean really. I'm not saying ban fun, just put a freaking helmet on."

As a member of the House several years ago, the Auditor General introduced a bill to compel stores to take recalled toys off shelves.

It never passed, and he's urging current lawmakers to take the issue up again.

"Policy-makers and toy manufacturers and the stores need to join together on this common-sense principle that if you're going to sell the product, it should already be safe," he said. "If it's not, don't make it available for purchase."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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