Toys R Us Inc. is the latest big-box retailer to announce cutbacks in PVC usage.
The Wayne, N.J., toy retailer said Feb. 15 it has begun replacing PVC and phthalate plasticizers in juvenile products made exclusively for the firm. A spokes- woman said there is no deadline for removing PVC toys from Toys R Us shelves and the announcement is not suggesting that PVC toys be eliminated entirely.
The retailer is being stricter with phthalates.
``All manufacturers have been notified that by the end of 2008, juvenile products sold in any Toys R Us or Babies R Us store in the United States must be produced without the addition of phthalates that have raised concerns about infant safety,'' it announced.
Toys R Us joins Sears Holding Corp., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in public pronouncements aimed at reducing the amount of PVC in their merchandise. Wal-Mart recently confirmed it will force suppliers to reduce the amount of phthalate in its products to 0.1 percent.
The Toys R Us statement is part of a larger announcement designed to increase its quality-assurance standards. Other elements include cutting back lead levels in coatings and products, date-coding all products, increasing the frequency of third-party testing and eliminating nickel-cadmium batteries from products.
One environmental group welcomed the Toys R Us initiatives, but said the company should go further.
``We call on Toys R Us to take the next step by setting clear benchmarks and time frames for phasing out toxic PVC toys in order to prevent harm to our children's health,'' said Michael Schade, PVC campaign coordinator for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in Falls Church, Va.