It’s always hard to choose just one Rogue from the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s annual pre-holiday Trouble in Toyland report about toys that should make holiday shoppers wary.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still trouble in the toybox,” OSPIRG policy advocate Jon Bartholomew said Tuesday when he and Oregon Attorney General John Kroger unveiled this year’s 25th edition of worrisome toys.
Indeed there still is trouble. There are plenty of contenders for Rogue dishonors among the nine offenders listed in this year’s report that offer dangers of choking and hazardous lead levels.
You can see the entire list at wweek.com/ospirg/troubleintoyland.
But we’re going to choose Global Design Concepts, the New York City-based manufacturer of the Dora the Explorer backpack as our holiday-edition Rogue.
That’s because parts of the face on the Dora backpack, according to OSPIRG, have 150,000 parts per million of Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate.
Bartholomew says an acceptable amount of phthalates is around 1,000 parts per million, meaning the amount in that small portion of the backpack could be 150 times more than recommended maximums.
Phthalates are unsafe when ingested, making them especially harmful to young children, who often chew or suck on their toys. The chemical compounds of phthalates are also used in furniture, food packaging, clothing, medical equipment and toys, among many other products.
The chemicals found in phthalates have been found to yield reproductive abnormalities, premature deliveries in pregnant women, early puberty in girls and reduced sperm counts in men, according to various scientific studies from the federal government and other organizations.
On the company’s website, president and chief executive Dan Sabbah says, “Our job is to bring the best products at the right price to our customers.”
The Rogue Desk was referred to Cathy Cottrell, vice president of production at Global Design Concepts, when we called for further comment.
Cottrell declined, saying she needed to conduct some research of her own first. She can start by reading Trouble in Toyland.