They're a journalistic staple this time of year, as with the W.A.T.C.H. ("World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.") list, publicized at places like Boing Boing and Consumerist. Unless you read Bill Childs' blog, you may not have realized that
the group putting the list together was founded and is directed by Edward Swartz, who is a plaintiff-side products liability lawyer who specializes in (among other things) child safety suits. I don't know if he has any suits pending related to the toys identified on the list.
And regarding a second and separate "bad toy" list, Trevor Butterworth at STATS doesn't think PIRG has its facts straight relating to soft plastics.