Harmful Chemicals in Plastic Toys Is No News
It has long been a public secret that some plastic toys contain chemicals that can be harmful to human health. However, it’s still difficult for parents to know which plastic toys contain these harmful elements and protect their children from them. Aside from the so-called “chemicals of concern” list, there are currently no international agreements on the substances that shouldn’t be used in toy materials.
To help bring positive change and provide evidence for greater international regulations, researchers from DTU and the University of Michigan joined forces with the UN Environment to analyze chemical functions and amounts found in plastic toy materials.
The Results of the Study
Researchers tested 419 chemicals found in soft, foam, and hard plastic materials used to make children’s toys. They identified 126 of those that can potentially have a negative effect on children’s health and ranked them according to the level of risk. That same study found that kids in Western countries have about 40 pounds of plastic toys on average, which shows the significance of controlling the use of harmful chemicals in toy materials.
The problem with current toy production is that manufacturers don’t usually provide any information regarding the chemical content of their products. That’s partly because there’s no regulation about it and partly because they are indeed using harmful elements. The researchers further outlined safe alternatives to the majority of harmful chemicals they identified.
Although this study is bringing the spotlight on an important issue, there’s still a lot more to be done before official regulations are in place. In the meantime, researchers advise parents to avoid buying plastic toys altogether to reduce the health risk for their children and themselves.