Trouble in Toyland: Toy safety survey finds problems still exist

Undercover shoppers went to stores across the country, including here in Seattle, to test for toxic metals, chemicals and other hazards that should not be in children's toys.

Again this year, they say they found "Trouble in Toyland".

There is, however, encouraging news. The annual toy safety survey found toy retailers and manufactures are doing a better job of putting safety first with mandatory testing for lead, toxic chemicals and other hazards kids don't understand. But in recent lab tests by the non-profit Public Interest Research Group still found violations.

Examples found in the Seattle area include an action figure with excessive levels of lead, a soft plastic kids backpack containing phthalates -- chemicals linked to reproductive and other problems in children -- and toys with noise levels that could damage a child's sensitive hearing.

The shoppers also found practically identical travel games purchased from the same store, with one labeled a choke hazard as required, the other with no labeling at all.

The bottom line is that standards and regulations are making a difference, but potentially dangerous toys are still making their way onto toy shelves.

So read the labels, examine toys carefully, take into account all the children that will potentially be exposed to the toy, and when in doubt, choose a different toy.

The full Trouble In Toyland report is available online.