(NaturalNews) More than a third of toys tested contain toxic chemicals, according to a report released by the Ecology Center's Environmental Health Project and the Washington Toxics Coalition.
The groups tested 1,200 toys and other children's products using an X-ray fluorescence analyzer that reveals objects' elemental composition. According to the groups, this method is far more accurate than the types of home lead-testing kits that are widely available.
The researchers found that more than a third of all products tested contained toxic elements, the most common being lead, mercury, cadmium or arsenic. Other elements tested for were bromine, chlorine, chromium and tin.
Seventeen percent of the objects tested contained more lead than is allowed by federal safety standards, or 600 parts per million (ppm). Some products had lead levels more than five times the allowed maximum -- a Hannah Montana card game, for example, tested at 3,056 ppm.
Cadmium levels greater than 100 ppm were found in 2.9 percent of products, and arsenic levels greater than 100 ppm were found in 2.2 percent.
Lead was most common in jewelry, but other products containing toxins included bath toys and bedroom slippers. Many brand-name products were on the report's list of "worst toys," including Elmo's Take-Along card games and a Go Diego Go backpack.
The children's products were tested only to see if they contained toxic substances, so it is unknown exactly how much risk of exposure each product poses, or what the health effects of using them might be.
According to Tracey Easthope, director of the Environmental Health Project, the purpose of the study was to spur the government to carry out better testing, rather than to accuse specific toys of being dangerous.
"We aren't making claims about immediate danger," Easthope said. "But the government is not testing for toxic chemicals, and too many manufacturers are not self-regulating."
"We're publishing the results of our test with the hope that we can urge the government to do this kind of thing themselves," she said.