Toys 'R' Us will begin to phase out the use of nickel-cadmium batteries because of the widespread environmental harm it has been causing for factory workers in China. This type of rechargeable battery commonly found in remote-control cars and power tools are safe to use. However, recently they have been a cause of concern for many workers in China, who assemble the batteries, and have been exposed to toxic levels of cadmium, which has been linked to kidney failure, lung cancer and bone disease. The toy store chain said it would prohibit the use of cadmium batteries in toys made exclusively for their stores. Last week the company also agreed to adopt standards for surface lead paint stricter than the federal government's. Jane Spencer of the Wall Street Journal reports:
The announcement is part of a wave of safety initiatives aimed at winnowing out toxins from toys sold in the company's more than 1,550 retail stores world-wide. In addition to the battery phaseout, the company announced stricter rules on lead content in toy surface coatings and tighter rules on phthalates, a vinyl additive that has been linked to cancer in rats.
What You Can Do