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A small wooden train, as green as grass, is placed carefully on a foot-high platform directly over a red beam of light. The testing equipment can transmit beams of light through a wide range of consumer goods – measuring whether dangerous levels of lead and other metals are present. California Watch recently worked with the Center for Environmental Health to screen jewelry using a similar device. When California Watch tested the jewelry, there was a part of me that wanted to see high results. That brings me to my own toy testing initiative, and the pile of small train toys next to the Big Zapper. The local toy store owner sees us coming and the problems of a debilitating recession seem to melt away, if only for a moment.
More than 20 different wooden engines, train cars and train set pieces were affected by the recall. He added that a child could probably play every day with toys at 18 ppm or 19 ppm and never experience any ill effects. I moved on to some of the newer trains painted with bright red paint – earlier versions of which had been part of the first 2007 voluntary recall.

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If you'd like to be notified when this item becomes available, enter your information below and click "Notify Me". We will notify you when the item is back in stock and you will recieve a discount card for an extra 10% off your next purchase! The story focused on one national chain, Rainbow Apparel, that has been cited five times in 16 months by California regulators for selling more than two dozen different jewelry pieces with illegal levels of lead. Even before we published, the findings led Rainbow to pull specific jewelry off store shelves. RC2, the Illinois company that makes the popular Thomas & Friends wooden trains under the Learning Curve brand, issued a voluntary recall, just weeks after Luke was born. Toys such as James and Rheneas came back clean, registering undetectable levels of lead in my limited testing. Simply sign up and pay online, or print off our application form, and return with a cheque.

And as the editorial director of California Watch, I want my reporters to find big-time problems, especially if exposing them can prompt solutions. The American Academy of Pediatrics said in 2007 that any children's product under 40 ppm should not pose a danger or cause parents to worry. The front car for Rocky, a red crane that contains three separate cars, had the highest amount of lead at 19 ppm.
He noted, however, that the lead levels detected by the Big Zapper were so low that it would be difficult to distinguish between 0 and 19 ppm. A few months later, the company issued a second recall involving five more Thomas & Friends train toys. I tested most engines or cars at least twice – once on the side and once with the red beam directed at either the bottom or top of the toy. But Luke can identify the most obscure Thomas characters from the slight variations of their smiling faces.

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