Experts fear economy may spur sales of unsafe toys

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Federal safety officials worry that the economic downturn will drive discount-seeking parents to buy used toys tainted by lead or with dangerous designs.

Government safety officials are particularly concerned that money-conscious parents will purchase holiday gifts from secondhand, online sellers, who may not be aware of safety issues.

"In stretching today's dollar, we do not want you to sacrifice safety," acting Consumer Product Safety Commission chair Nancy Nord said Wednesday.

She encouraged parents to research any products they buy secondhand for prior recalls.

At a press conference Wednesday, Nord stressed the CPSC's increased vigilance in targeting unsafe toys.

"The real good news this season, is the fact that the agency is inspecting more, but we are finding fewer violations," Nord said. "And we're seeing that across the board, but certainly with respect to lead paint."

She noted that a new port-inspections program resulted in 238 seized shipments of toys, which were denied entry for safety violations.

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