WASHINGTON -- Hidden dangers lurk in some of those less-expensive toys that parents might grab as stocking stuffers this time of year, such as a Sesame Street Oscar the Grouch doll.
The small, green Oscar, costing $6.99, was one of the toys singled out in the annual toy safety report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
The consumer advocate's report, released Tuesday, found just over a dozen toys on store shelves that violate federal safety standards.
Some had unsafe levels of lead or chemicals called phthalates, and others contained small parts that young children could choke on. Besides Oscar, other toys deemed potentially dangerous included a plastic book for babies; a $1 plastic mini-crossbow that fires off little balls and a hand-held "whirly wheel."
The book and the whirly wheel had high levels of lead, according to the study. An importer of the whirly wheel disputed that, and said the company's own testing showed that the toy with lead levels well below the limit.
PIRG also warned about toys that are too loud and could lead to damaged hearing, such as an Elmo talking cellphone that the group said tested just above voluntary industry noise limits.