Avoid Toxic PVC Plastic Toys
Many well known, big brand, toy manufacturers are still making baby and children’s toys from toxic PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride). These companies are ignoring the very real hazards to both children and the environment. All parents should do their best to avoid toxic PVC plastic toys.
PVC plastic is quite simply a toxic pollutant to humans, animals and environment. PVC releases carcinogenic Dioxins and other VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), that are extremely hazardous to the health of not just our children, but the health of our planet.
In regards to damage caused to our Eco-system, PVC is hard to beat! It has an impressively bad reputation for using huge amounts of chlorine. During the manufacturing and disposal of PVC, incredible amounts of hazardous substances are released into the air. Look up Greenpeace; they have a massive amount of informative articles on the dangers of PVC.
The Dangers Of Phthalates In PVC Plastic Children’s Toys
PVC, also known as Poly Vinyl Chloride, Vinyl, or can go by it’s plastic symbol – no. 3 , is a commonly used, but hazardous plastic.
PVC contains numerous Phthalates, which are plastic softeners. These Pthalates are used to make PVC soft and pliable; think baby teethers and rubber duckies. Amongst other problems, Phthalates are a potential carcinogen that release poisonous Dioxins.
The two most common phthalates used are di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and diisononylphthalate (DINP). One of the main concerns is that these plasticizers are not bound to the plastic, they can leach over time, and even more so when babies and young children put these PVC toys and products in their mouths and chew and suck on them.
The Phthalates released from PVC have been shown to cause cancer, endocrine disruptor; linking it to thyroid and kidney disease. One report coming out of a Danish/Swedish Study on 10,000 children showed an increase of asthma and allergy in the children from homes that had a high concentration of phthalates in the house dust.
Some Baby Toy Companies Have Banned PVC – But Not All & Not The Biggest One see image)
PVC plastic toys are considered hazardous enough that some forward thinking countries have banned the use of PVC in baby and toddler toys. This is due to the fact that young infants are constantly putting toys in their mouths.
- In December 1999, the European Union agreed to an emergency ban on six phthalates in soft PVC teething toys.
- Since 1997, bans on phthalates in soft PVC toys have taken effect in Austria, France, Greece, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the Fiji Islands.
- Japan is in the process of implementing a ban.
- Recommendations for withdrawal of vinyl toys have also been made by the Belgian, Danish, Dutch, German, Filipino, US and Canadian health authorities.
- The USA has banned the use of some Phthalates
- Some countries instead of banning it, are trying to instead, calculate the degree of exposure to these additives that is “safe” for children (CPSC 1997, CSTEE 1998). These tests have not proven accurate or reliable, we can’t risk our children’s health to flawed tests. Australia is one of them– have a read of the Australian Governments stance of DEHP Phthalate –
PVC Toys Are Still Everywhere
PVC plastic toys still unfortunately completely flood the global toy market, from baby’s first teething ring right through to barbie dolls, pencil cases, medical tubing and even kids’ food containers.
It stands to reason that most parents would believe that these products must all have passed vigorous safety tests and are therefore fine for our children to play with, eat out of and chew on. Tested yes, safe no!
While there is measures around the world being put into place to protect babies and toddlers the dangers of playing with PVC Toys, older childrens toys, stationary and gizmos are packed with PVC.
How To Protect Our Children From The Hazards Of PVC Plastic
and so what is our choice as parents? To me the only choice is wherever possible, steer clear of PVC, it is that easy! Childhood is a developmentally, and hence toxicological, sensitive time. Exposure to toxic chemicals can do permanent damage, with the immune, reproductive and nervous systems thought most likely to be affected by exposure to toxic chemicals
EASY STEPS TO A PVC FREE TOY CUPBOARD
• Be aware, find out what products are made of; if not sure, don’t buy! Some of the more ethical toy manufacturers no longer use PVC, but sadly not the big toy guns e.g. Fisher Price & Mattel.
• Opt for eco friendly wooden toys or organic cotton toys, there are now many great online eco friendly/organic baby and kids’ stores and you will find most of these stores were started by concerned mothers like myself, wanting safer alternatives. See my Eco Safe Wooden Toys List and Back to School The PVC Free Way
• If you do purchase any plastic toys, be sure to find out what type of plastic it is. Remember if it is a semi soft, pliable or soft plastic it could very well be PVC. Vinyl Toys are PVC Toys.
• Contact toy companies and ask about their stance on PVC. If they can’t give you a conclusive answer don’t buy!
• Check out www.healthystuff.org
• Check out Green Peace PVC TOY REPORT CARD 2003
I also recommend reading this article by Safbaby on How Dangerous is PVC in Toys.
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