For Immediate Release
Unforeseen Hazards Contribute to Toy-Related Injuries
A new report released today by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) illustrates the importance of the civil justice system in making toys safer for children.
Unforeseen hazards are still finding their way into toys despite recently improved safety standards, illustrating the need for a strong civil justice system that protects children and holds negligent manufacturers accountable, according the AAJ report.
For years, corporations have knowingly shipped toys with hidden dangers like small parts, loose magnets, asbestos, and other toxic chemicals until outrage from parents and civil actions forced regulators or manufacturers to act.
"Our children are priceless. Children should not be exposed to toys that sicken, injure and even kill them. Unfortunately they are," said Paul Gagliardi, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. "Parents need to do everything they can to keep their childrens' toys safe. Do your homework before purchasing a toy and regularly inspect the items and play areas."
Gagliardi continued,"The civil justice sytem plays such an important role in protecting our children and keeping their toys safe. Despite additional safety measures and regulation, it is truly the civil justice system that acts as our last line of defense in making sure we have safe products and justice for those that are harmed."
Earlier this year unsafe levels of cadmium were found in children's jewelry, a toxic metal known to cause cancer and ranked as seventh on a federal list of the 275 most hazardous substances. An investigation found the origin of the metal was likely China, where the use of the toxin had been prompted, ironically, by the recent prohibition of using lead. The U.S. imports more than 30,000 tons of toys every year from foreign markets, accounting now for 95 percent of toys sold in the U.S.
While regulators lack the resources and staff to police the market, parents, consumer groups and the civil justice system have stepped into the void. In 2007, a popular CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit contained a powder found to contain up to five percent asbestos, potentially sending lethal tremolite asbestos into the air and into children's lungs. Once the hazard was known, manufacturer CBS Consumer Products refused to remove it from store shelves as Christmas approached. Rather than wait for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to negotiate a recall, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization filed a civil action to stop sales of the kit.
The report, titled, "Playing with Safety: Dangerous Toys and the Role of America's Civil Justice System," details how the public learned about little known dangers hidden in today's popular toys. The report can be found at www.justice.org/toys.
As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others-even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations.
Paul Gagliardi is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, the state's largest statewide voluntary bar organization. The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the privileged and wealthy.