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Lead-toy furor is so last year; the source du jour of parental outrage is plastic polyvinyl chloride in toys. Numerous playthings — balls, dolls, rubber duckies, tea sets, you name it — contain PVC, which is made with carcinogen vinyl chloride, often softened with phthalates, and frequently contains lead and other heavy metals. While the Toy Industry Association says PVC poses no safety risks, many big retailers have begun to phase it out in favor of corn-based and other less-toxic plastics. What? You’re nostalgic for lead-toy-related aggravation? Fine: The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which in August was temporarily authorized to make rules governing lead-toy manufacture and pursue violators in court, recently let its authorization deadline expire without taking action.

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