Phthalates in Toys: Hidden Dangers

By Kristie Turck •  Published 12/27/07 •  2 min read

Many parents find themselves and their kids surrounded by a bevy of new toys as a result of the holiday season. Now is the time, if you haven’t already to do some thorough inspection on unanticipated gifts to make sure they’re safe for your kids. That means more than check the age limit. The surface of many plastic toys designed for little kids contains a harmful chemical called phthalates, which has already been banned from use in children’s toys in California, according to an article in Inside Bay Area.

There of course is still some doubt over whether they are dangerous but the proof is starting to pile up. And the risks sound worthy of a further look into the products and toys in your home:

Phthalates are added to plastic products to make them soft and pliable. They are widely used in products that often wind up young children’s mouths — rubber ducks, teething rings and soft bath books. They are also found in common household items like vinyl shower curtains, paint, and nail polish.

The danger is this: when a child places a plastic toy into his or her mouth, these harmful chemicals leach out of the plastic and into the system — and exposure to phthalates can cause serious long-term health effects, such as reproductive defects.

Europe and Mexico have already banned the use of it in toys and prohibited the import of them. That puts the U.S. at risk of becoming a “dumping ground” for banned toys. What’s a parent to do? Like many other things we worry about, this risk isn’t an easy one to avoid, but can be if you’re diligent.

Check toys against the research at HeathyToys.org for this and other dangers like lead.

Opt for less plastic in your home and more of toys made with wood, cloth or other safer materials. If for teething babies, try to look for safe alternatives such as latex or silicone.

Look for toys with labels on packaging that state they are phthalate-free. More things are popping up on teh shelves that are actually labeled. They will have a No PVC and/or a No Phthalates symbol on the packaging.

Source: Inside bay Area