How can any Tom, Dick, or Harry tell that you have little tots in your home? You guessed right. It's the toys sprawled all over your living room. Because what's a healthy baby without toys? Children need toys for entertainment and cognitive development.
Now rummage through the stash of toys in your home. We bet that dozens of them are made from plastic. We hate to puncture your peace but did you know that most plastic toys brim over with harmful chemicals that pose a great danger to children?
This article will unveil these dangers.
What's Wrong with Plastic Toys?
Parents scour the stores for squishy, colorful, durable, and washable toys for their kids and plastic toys fit the bill. Unfortunately, the chemical elements that endow plastic with all the rosy attributes are toxic.
These toxic chemicals easily leach out, especially when babies do what they do best- shove them into their mouths.
There are different types of plastics used in the toy industry. One of the most common yet highly toxic type of plastic is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PVC is a darling among toy manufacturers because it is soft and flexible. You will find it in nearly all soft toys, including teething rings and bath toys.
Toxic Chemicals in PVC and Their Harsh Effects
Phthalates- Phthalates give plastic toys the soft squishy feel that we all adore. But they in turn expose children to a trail of harmful effects. They are notorious for hormone disruption and can cause premature puberty and decreased fertility.
They are also associated with liver lesions and allergies like asthma. They also exacerbate the risk of some types of cancer.
Cadmium- This chemical is used as a plastic stabilizer. Besides being a carcinogen, it is linked to slow brain development, kidney, and bone damage.
Organotin- This is another plastic stabilizer with dreadful effects. It throws the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and neurological systems into disarray. It can also trigger skin and liver problems.
Lead- Lead is used to make plastic toys flexible. It is also used as a stabilizer from heat. It affects the central nervous system and has been linked to ADHD, low IQ, and retarded growth.
Bisphenol A (BPA) – This helps make toys light in weight, heat resistant, strong, and durable. It can alter brain development and child behavior. It can also meddle with the development of prostate glands in infants and young children.
Other Toxins in Plastic Toys
Flame Retardants – They are used in plastics to prevent or slow down fire. They can cause reproductive problems, abnormal child development, thyroid, and endocrine disruption, and certain types of cancers.
Formaldehyde- This is used as a preservative in water-based toys. It is a carcinogen.
How About the Law?
You may be frothing at the mouth wondering how toxin-laden toys are allowed production in the first place. Aren't there laws that expressly slap a ban on the production of such toys?
In the US, the onus is on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). There are however glaring regulatory gaps in CPSC's execution of its mandate. The focus is mainly on mechanical safety such as choking hazards and lacerations.
CPSC also seems reactive in its approach. It for instance frantically recalls toys only after complaints are filed.
Here is a list produced by CPSC in October 2017. It barred the use of several phthalates with a concentration of more than 0.1%.
Are There Safe Alternatives?
It's clear that no one is looking out for your child where plastic toys are concerned. We suggest you make peace with that and roll with the punches. If you must buy plastic toys, look for those flaunting the label "PVC-Free and BPA-Free".
But here's a little reprieve for you.
You can safely perk up your kid's bath time with our Mini Rubber Duck. Made from 100% natural rubber and are free of phthalates, PVC and BPA. No need to fret when your child nibbles on them.
Besides, they are colored using pure natural plant pigments. If that does not define toxic-free then we don't know what does.
There's a flurry of dangers that swirl around the tender lives of children. It is exasperating for parents to learn that most plastic toys are chock full of toxins. With the law not doing enough to pull the plug on this plight, parents need to go over their kids' toys with a fine-tooth comb in order to buffer them from this menace.