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The Green Grinch ...

“‘Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!' Then he [the Grinch] growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming, I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming! … that old Grinch was so smart and so slick. He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!” ~Dr. Suess, from The Grinch that Stole Christmas. The greens may not be able to steal all the joy of Christmas, but some apparently don't mind trying. One group of environmental activists has launched a new website called "HealtyToys.org," to take advantage of fear created by recent recalls of Chinese toys. They scare parents needlessly—raising unwarrented questions about the safety of a host of toys. They claim to have scientifically measured “dangerous” chemicals in a wide varitiey of toys, which parents can review online so they can select "safer" products. The problem is, their tests are of questionable quality, and they don't tell us a smidge about actual risk levels. As noted in Newsday: “The report notes that there are limitations with the XRF analyzer and that different materials could interfere with the device's ability to accurately quantify the elements. 'It seems to me more confusing than answering questions and fuels the frenzy of parents who are confused and don't understand what's going on,' said Chris Byrne, a toy expert and contributing editor for Toy Wishes magazine, who said he had not reviewed the testing procedures.” Even if the greens' chemical measurements were right, it still doesn't matter. The levels they detected are tiny and actual human exposure is even lower. In fact, humans are exposed to chemicals at such trace levels every day from a vartiety of sources to no ill effect. The group hosting the site admidts these very serious faults in a footnote, which links to the following statement: “IMPORTANT NOTE: The information on HealthyToys.org is meant to provide general information to the public on whether or not certain chemicals were detected in tested children's products. HealthyToys.org did NOT conduct studies to determine if the chemicals of concern will migrate or come out of the product, causing a direct exposure. Therefore, HealthyToys.org can not determine whether the presence of these chemicals in a product results in human exposure, nor can HealthyToys.org estimate the health risk posed by any product. Studies intended to examine whether or not chemicals of concern do come out of products under various conditions can be done. Some manufacturers report having done studies of this kind. Please contact manufacturers directly if you are interested in that information. The test results shown on the site apply only to the specific toys tested. Earlier or later versions of the same toys may contain different chemical formulations.” Even though HealthToys.org admits it doesn't know anything about their risks, it still list the “best” and “worst” toys on the market. The Grinch may have been slick, but the greens apparently are much slicker.