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December 6, 2008 (San Diego) — Before you buy children's toys this holiday season, be aware that many toxic toys have NOT been removed from store shelves. Here's what you need to know to avoid these toys harmful products.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, toys containing toxic phthalates are supposed to be banned starting on February 10, 2009. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is saying that stores can continue to sell down their inventories as long as they were manufactured before the February deadline.

When the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, tested over 1,500 popular children's toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals, they found that one in three toys tested were found to contain "medium" or "high" levels of chemicals of concern.

Scary, right? But knowledge truly is power in this case, according to Moms Rising, an organization of concerned parents that has mobilized to take action on this issue.

Before you give a child a toy this holiday season, search the HealthyToys database for its chemical test results:

When you're at the store, you can search the HealthyToys database from your cell phone. Simply text "healthytoys [name of toy]" -- for example "healthytoys Elmo" or "healthytoys Wii" -- to 41411.

Then help other parents protect their kids. Print this flyer - which includes info on how to search for toys using your cell phone while you're shopping - and post them up at work, school, the grocery, wherever you go.

You can also sign an online petition calling on the Consumer Products Safety Commission to immediately remove toys containing these banned substances from U.S. store shelves:

If you find banned products on store shelves, you can also complain to your local retailer and suggest that these items be removed -- and destroyed to make sure  that no manufacturers can resell dangerous items to children in other locations.

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