Thursday, December 23, 2010

Safer Toys

Safer Toys
With Christmas being almost here, I thought I’d do a post about safe toys. Toys unfortunately can contain a whole host of chemicals and children are more susceptible to toxins. Which is why last year I began to rid our house of the yucky toys and start buying the good ones. I also let all the grandparents and family members know what we were doing. Yes, that caused a bit of craziness that Christmas especially when they don’t see chemicals like I do. However, in my opinion I felt it better to give everyone the heads up so that they could spend their money on toys that my kids would actually get to keep.


Just what chemicals are in toys?

Bisphenol-A (BPA) – BPA has been found to cause reproductive problems, breast cancer, prostate cancer, metabolic disorders, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Phthalates - linked to hormonal and reproduction problems, liver and kidney damage, and cancer.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – PVC also known as vinyl leaches phthalates.

Lead – can cause neurodevelopment disorders, behavioral problems, seizures and even death at high levels.

All these chemicals can possibly be in plastic toys, yes even lead apparently. Cloth toys can possibly contain lead if they’ve been painted on, such as cloth books. Wood toys if painted can contain lead, and depending on what the wood was glued with or varnished with those can be toxic too.

Want to try and buy safer toys? It’s rather difficult but here are some tips.

If buying plastic look for toys labeled BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free. PVC is what is used in many plastics to make them flexible so if you can bend the plastic around a bit then odds are good that it has PVC in it.

Safer plastics are numbers 1 , 2, 4, and 5. Definitely avoid plastics labeled 3, 6, and 7.

There have been promises of removing toys containing these chemicals from stores but these promises seem to be empty. Toys R Us promised to reduce products with PVC from their stores. However, a recent study shows that they did not and that 72.5% of all toys/children’s products tested contained high levels of chlorine, indicating they were likely made of PVC. Moral of the story? Don’t just by any plastic toy, apparently most are made with PVC still.

Check out healthystuff.org. This site has tested many toys and scores them based on their toxicity results.

Check out safbaby.com’s post on their list of toys free of PVC, Lead, and Fire Retardants.

You best bet for safe toys is to buy them from Europe. Why? Because Europe is smarter then the US and has banned many of the chemicals that we still allow. Now that’s not to say that other countries are all bad. It’s definitely possible to have a safe toy company in a typically toxic country. I’m just saying that Europe has higher standards so it’s easier to find safer toys.

What do we do? I buy wood toys. I don’t do plastic toys anymore. If grandma feels the absolute need for a plastic toy then it stays at her house where at least the kids won’t play with it constantly. I allow bath toys to be plastic but it has to be PVC, PBA, and Phthalate free.
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