Old News Archive

Libraries recall prizes given to children

August 11, 2006 - TRC

Some children who were awarded prizes by area libraries this summer for exceptional reading have a new text to master: A recall notice.

Wisconsin-based Highsmith Co. sold the approximately 4-inch-long, Chinese-manufactured toys this summer nationwide to libraries, which used them as prizes and incentives to encourage reading. Recalls have been issued across the U.S.

Amy Malysa, manager of the Alsip-Merrionette library's youth services department, said in a news release that most of the toys distributed at that library were given out the week of June 26 to July 1.

The Indiana Department of Health, which found the toys' accent paint to be between 0.4 and 0.24 percent lead, announced the toxicity last week. A test by Highsmith then found that levels were at least 0.277 percent, said Matt Mulder, director of Highsmith Publications.

The maximum safety limit is 0.06 percent, according to several state health agencies. Exposure to lead, especially in children, can cause nervous system damage, hearing loss, delayed development and kidney damage.

"The shape and size of these toys may tempt children to put them in their mouths and suck or chew on the toys," Loren Robertson, assistant commissioner of the

Indiana Health Department, said in a release. "If children have these toys, it's important that parents return them to their local library for safe disposal. Also, consider consulting with your health care provider for lead screening."

Mulder said anyone who received the toys should take them back to the library where they received them.

By Jason George, Tribune staff reporter

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.