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Workman Publishing Co. of Green Bay, Wis., announced the voluntary recall of My First Brain Quest (ages 2-3, ISBN 1-56305-634-8, #3634) and Brain Quest for Threes (ages 3-4, ISBN 1-56305-633-X, #3633). The company urges consumers who purchased these to return them to the store or to Workman Publishing Co. for a refund or a free replacement. If you have questions, call 1-800-430-3640 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

My First Brain Quest consists of three decks of cards held together by a plastic post, 25 cards per set, packed in a plastic container. Brain Quest for Threes consists of two decks of cards held together by a plastic post, 58 cards per set, packed in a plastic container. These products have been in stores for approximately three weeks.Because of a manufacturing defect, the plastic post holding together the card decks can separate in two small pieces that, if swallowed, present a potential choking hazard to young children.

This recall doesn't affect other titles of the Brain Quest line that have been on sale for over two years with no reports of injuries or complaints of any consumer hazard.

The recalled products retail for $10.95.

If you don't return the products to the store where you purchased them, you may return them to Workman Publishing Co., c/o Bantam Fulfillment Services, 1003 Discovery Road., Green Bay, WI. 54311. Return complete sets - three decks of cards for My First Brain Quest and two decks for Brain Quest for Threes.

You'll be reimbursed for shipping and handling. Replacement sets will be shipped during the week of Sept. 6.

`Green' advertising claims

Garbage bags marked "recyclable." Aerosols that say they "contain no CFCs." Diapers marked "biodegradable." Terms like these are used to describe products, but what do they mean?

To help answer these questions the Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, has published a pamphlet called "Green" Advertising Claims (item 580A, free). For a copy, send your name and address to the Consumer Information Center, Dept. 580A, Pueblo, CO 81009.

Something that's labeled "biodegradable" raises the expectation that it will break down quickly after being thrown away and therefore won't add to the problem of overcrowded landfills.

But that isn't necessarily so. That's because landfills are built to keep out sunlight, moisture and air in order to protect the air and surrounding water supply. But it slows down decomposition.

Some products market themselves as being free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the chemical substances that are damaging to the earth's ozone layer. But don't assume that no CFCs means "ozone friendly." Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are sometimes used as substitutes for CFCs. HCFCs are not as destructive as CFCs but they, too, deplete the ozone layer. And volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are found in consumer products such as household cleaners and hair spray, can contribute to the formation of smog.

What about product labels making claims like "20 percent less packaging" or "contains 50 percent more recycled material"?

Unless you know what they're comparing themselves to, the statement has no meaning. For example, suppose a product advertises that it consists of 50 percent more recycled paper. That sounds like a big increase but what if the new total is only three percent. If other brands have been using 10 percent recycled paper all along, the claim isn't as impressive as it first appeared.