ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
The Raw Food Diet
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds

(HealthDay News) -- As the holiday shopping season begins, parents need to know that many dangerous toys are still being sold in stores across the United States.

That's the conclusion of the 24th annual Trouble in Toyland report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

The report focuses on toys that pose a choking hazard, are excessively loud, or contain the toxic chemicals phthalate and lead.

Phthalates have been linked to premature delivery, reproductive defects, early onset of puberty, and lower sperm counts. Lead exposure can cause lowered IQ, delayed mental and physical development, and death in children, researchers have found.

Along with the Trouble in Toyland report, PIRG said it will unveil a new interactive tool -- accessible via computer or smart phone -- that will help parents and other purchasers avoid hazardous toys. Consumers will also be able to report dangerous toys to the new Web tool (www.toysafety.mobi).

"Now parents can shop safely and avoid purchasing potentially dangerous toys for their kids," Elizabeth Hitchcock, PIRG's public health advocate, said in a news release. "With our new, interactive tool, parents and other consumers can report toys they think are hazardous so we can investigate them and report them to the federal government," she added.

While a new law overhauling the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has led to some progress on toy safety in the past year, consumers still need to be wary, PIRG said.

Hitchcock said, "There's no magic wand to fix the CPSC, and making products safer won't happen overnight. Restoring consumer confidence in the products we buy will take continued hard work on the part of the CPSC and responsible retailers and manufacturers."

Among the findings in the new report:

* Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under 3, PIRG found toys that pose serious choking hazards. An analysis of CPSC recalls and other actions in 2009 showed that these hazards were the cause of more than 5 million products being recalled from store shelves.
* Some toys tested by PIRG exceeded 85 decibels sound level, the volume threshold established under American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
* As of February 2009, toys and other children's products containing more than 0.1 percent of phthalates were banned in the United States, but PIRG found children's products that contained concentrations of phthalates up to 7.2 percent.
* In August 2009, the allowable level of lead in the paint on children's products sold in the United States was reduced to 90 parts per million, and the allowable level of lead in children's products was reduced to 300 ppm. PIRG researchers found three children's toys or jewelry containing high levels of lead or lead paint.

In 2009, the CPSC announced recalls and other regulatory actions involving nearly 1.3 million toys and other children's products that violated the lead paint standard. In October, PIRG notified the CPSC of a preschool book that contained lead paint at 1,900 ppm -- more than 20 times the allowable maximum of 90 ppm.

"We're encouraged that Toys 'R' Us stopped the sale of this particular book after we notified the CPSC of the lead paint violation," Hitchcock said. "We hope we can continue to see this kind of progress in protecting kids from all toy hazards."

In 2008, toy-related injuries caused the deaths of 19 children and resulted in more than 82,000 emergency room visits by children under age 5, according to the most recent CPSC data.

SOURCES: U.S. Public Interest Research Group, news release, Nov. 24, 2009