Here are the latest recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). (For complete reports, go to http://www.cpsc.gov). Parents are urged to take all products away from children immediately and to discard or return to the manufacturers according to the following:
Fisher-Price scooters and mini bikes:
Fisher-Price has recalled 30,000 electric scooters and 55,000 electric mini bikes. The motor control circuits can malfunction, causing both vehicles to continue to run after the power or throttle button has been released. Fisher-Price has received 56 reports of scooter incidents and 24 reports of incidents involving mini bikes. Injuries have included a chipped tooth, a broken arm, and a leg laceration.
The Lightning PAC Scooters and MX3 Mini Bikes are battery powered ride-on toys designed for children ages 6 and older. Model numbers of 73530 (for the Lightning PAC) and 73535 and B2222 (for the MX3) can be found inside the battery compartments. Mass merchant and toy stores sold the scooters nationwide November 2001-October 2003 for about $250. The mini bikes were sold May-September 2003 for about $200. Consumers should contact Fisher-Price at (800) 528-7153 or go to www.service.mattel.com to receive information on getting their toys serviced free at a certified Power Wheels Service Center. To view a picture of these products, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04031.html.
Multi-colored sidewalk chalk:
Target has recalled 26,000 packages of multi-colored sidewalk chalk manufactured by the Agglo Corporation of Hong Kong. The Wisconsin Department of Health has identified the chalk as containing high levels of lead, posing a risk of poisoning to children. No incidents have been reported.
Each stick of the "Double Dipp'n Fun" chalk is triangular and multi-colored, with three colors (green, red, yellow or blue) layered together. The chalk is packaged in molded plastic in sticks of five. This recall does not involve solid color chalk sold in the same packaging. Target sold the chalk March-July 2003 for about $1. Consumers can return the product to Target for a refund. For more information, call (800) 440-0680, or go to www.target.com. To view a picture of this product, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04032.html.
"Pet Me Platypus" plush toys:
Neurosmith has recalled 4,400 "Pet Me Platypus" plush toys. The plastic button covers on the toy can detach, posing a choking hazard. No injuries have been reported.
The Pet Me Platypus is a musical plush toy with a green head, yellow beak and legs, and blue body. It features four buttons: a red heart, yellow star, orange circle, and green square. The model number 42080 appears on the battery box cover, with a batch number of FV23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29 or 30 printed vertically on the cover's right side. Target stores nationwide sold the Pet Me Platypus August-October 2003 for about $20. For a free replacement Pet Me Platypus, call Neurosmith at (800) 220-3669, ext. 1066 Monday-Friday between 10:30am-7:30pm. To view a picture of this product, go to:
"Amazing Baby Listen and Play" activity books:
Advantage Publishers Group has recalled 5,300 "Amazing Baby Listen and Play" activity books. The hub of the pink dial embedded in the inside back cover can detach, posing a choking hazard. One report of a detached hub has been reported, but no injuries.
“Amazing Baby” is an interactive book designed to help children ages 12-24 months learn about different sounds, images, and materials. It has a multi-colored cover with a baby face, a yellow bird that makes a squeak noise when pressed, and a clear plastic container of multi-colored beads. A small rotating plastic wheel with finger indentations is mounted onto the inside back cover. Retail stores, national book chains, wholesalers and distributors, and membership warehouse clubs sold these activity books nationwide May-October 2003 for $16. To order a free replacement book without the dial, call Advantage Publishers at (866) 748-3731 or go to www.advantagebooksonline.com. To view a picture of this product, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04029.html.
Brio toy drums:
Brio Corp. has recalled 2,100 of its "Plan Toy" Solid Drums. The drum's three rubber feet can be removed, posing a choking hazard. No incidents or injuries have been reported.
The natural wood drum, measuring 6 1/4 inches in diameter and 3 inches in height, has blue and red triangles painted on its side and curved holes carved into its top. Recalled lot numbers of 46271068, 1546214 and 4345141 appear on the inside flap of the packaging. A stamp on the drum's bottom displays the "Plan Toys" logo. Specialty toy stores, Internet retailers and mail order catalogs sold the drums nationwide March-September 2003 for about $15. To receive a refund or replacement product, call Brio at (888) 274-6869 or go to the firm's website at www.Briotoy.com. To view a picture of this product, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04028.html.
How to report a problem:
To report a dangerous product or product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772. CPSC’s website can also be accessed at www.cpsc.gov. Consumers can report product hazards to [email protected]
Everyday Green Choices
Carpet Or Wood Floors?
By Lisa Cohn
Environmentally-minded parents remodeling their homes are likely to encounter this air quality challenge: Do you choose carpet or hardwood floors?
New carpet, the pads underneath them, and the glues used to install them "outgas" or emit volatile organic compounds — chemicals that can cause headaches, nose and throat irritation and other health problems, according to the American Lung Association, based in New York City. In addition, carpets tend to retain chemical and biological pollutants, including pesticides, mold and fungus. They also serve as home to dust mites and animal dander, common allergens. In fact, carpets help contribute to the fact that people are exposed to two to five times more air pollutants when they’re inside, rather than outside. That’s bad news, given that most of us spend up to 90 percent of our time inside, says the American Lung Association.
If you’re hooked on the idea of using carpet, you might consider installing all-natural wool carpets with mineral dies and natural latex backing. The installed cost starts at about $35 per yard, according to Environmental Building Supplies, in Portland, Ore.
A good alternative to wool carpet is a "floating" hardwood floor. This is generally made of less expensive wood veneers that aren’t glued in place and therefore don’t emit unhealthy glues. They’re already coated with the materials needed to protect them, so they don’t "outgas". The flooring arrives ready to "snap" in place without the use of polluting adhesives. All in all, it’s an odor-free product that doesn’t retain biological pollutants, dust mites or animal dander. And it’s tough enough to withstand spaghetti spills and art projects.
The less expensive wood veneers cost about $45 per square yard installed, but if you install them yourself, the price is about $35 — comparable to lower-end wool carpets, and more environmentally sound than carpet if anyone in your family suffers from allergies.