I bought Freddie the Firefly for my son 4 years ago; it was his favorite toy and I washed it all the time. Just tossed it into his load and dried on low heat. It always came out just fine. I got it back out recently for my daughter, and the squeaker has gone on it, but I have no idea if that's related to the washing or not.
The US Government's standards for what they do test are low. When they test something, there is no guarantee that all items of that nature also conform to that standard. They rely heavily on the companies testing it.
Here is what parents can do. Go to a hardware store and buy a lead test. Buy items from local toystores that do their own testing. Buy things made for the EU market, where they have regulations on testing. Brands that are safe: Haba, Plan Toys, Kathe Kruse.
PS: Another things to be on the lookout for are plastics. Avoid BPA and phthalates. BPA is in plastics with a recycling tag of 1, 5, 6 and 7. Never heat anything you will feed your child or yourself in plastics at all, especially those with BPA. It leaches stuff that acts like a hormone. Phthalates are substances that make plastics bendy, and heat or water will make that stuff easier to get into kids' systems (bathtubs, chewing, etc.). Hormones and such again, are the culprits. Avoid things like rubber duckies.