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PR EPA ACTS TO PREVENT PLAYSKOOL TOY MANUFACTURER HASBRO, INC., FROM FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM MICROBIAL INFECTIONS
Release Date: 04/18/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 1997
EPA ACTS TO PREVENT PLAYSKOOL TOY MANUFACTURER HASBRO, INC., FROM FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM MICROBIAL INFECTIONS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an enforcement agreement that prevents Hasbro, Inc., manufacturer of Playskool toys, from claiming that toys treated with an antibacterial pesticide protect children from infectious diseases caused by bacteria. Labels and advertisements for the toys suggested that the treatment protects children from health risks, when in fact it protects only the plastic in the toy. Under terms of the consent agreement, the company is prevented from making such claims due to a lack of reliable data to support them.
Hasbro has agreed to revoke earlier claims and to correct the information through advertisements in various print media and appropriate store and toy placarding, as well as to pay a penalty of $120,000. The collective value of the actions that Hasbro will take are estimated to be well in excess of a million dollars.
The agreement results from the recent introduction by Hasbro of nine Playskool toys, carrying claims that the toys inhibited the growth of a broad range of bacteria, including e. coli, salmonella, and staph and strep infections. The plastic toys are manufactured with the antibacterial pesticide Microban (active ingredient, triclosan), which is registered by EPA to inhibit bacterial growth in plastic but has not been approved for public health claims.
“Protecting the health of our children is one of our highest priorities,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “While our safety assessments show no evidence that this chemical in toys pose a health risk to children, we believe that parents have a right to know that the health claims made about the products they purchase for their children are accurate. Today’s action will ensure that parents can make more informed decisions about protecting their children.”
Microban is registered by EPA to inhibit bacterial growth in plastic. Under provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, public health claims of products containing pesticides cannot be made for any products distributed or sold unless the products have been approved and registered by EPA or have been granted an exemption from registration. The toys were not registered by EPA.
Under terms of the agreement, Hasbro will take an immediate series of steps to inform the public about the claim, to be concluded within 90 days, including relabeling or repackaging all affected toys, as well as publish large (specified size) advertisements in USA Today newspaper, Parents, American Baby, Child, and Parenting magazines with the message that Microban is used to protect the plastic toy and inhibits the growth of bacteria on the toy. In a supplemental environmental project under the agreement, Hasbro also will also publish two full page advertisements in Parenting, Baby Talk, Child, and American Baby about protecting children from health risks related to lead-based paint in the home.
The nine Playskool toys are: Stack N Scoop Whale, Hourglass, Roll N Rattle Ball, Busy Beads Pal, Pop N Spin, Laptop, Rockin Radio, Sound Around Driver, and Animal Sounds Phone.
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