|The issue of Toy Safety is a top priority for today's parents. Toxic toys pollute our planet and poison our children. Let's be agents of change by conscientiously choosing Safer Toys!|
How the Toy Industry Works
Toy industry self-regulation and voluntary safety standards, which are inadequate and often not adhered to, have failed to ensure toy safety. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with policing toys, they lack resources to do so. Pre-market testing is not required and adequate protocols do not exist to address known hazards, such as lead. For example, lead-testing is not required despite the millions of toys that have been recalled for excessive lead content. The Toy Industry Association likes to assure consumers that recalls are made whenever a sure threat is discovered. But, as a parent, I view recalls as reactive, not proactive. Dangerous toys should be screened out before sold to consumers, since recalls do not reach all consumers and since irreversible damage may be done before a recall is instated.
Recalls as a Warning
"Toxic toys with excessive lead content accounted for at least thirty (30) toy recalls, representing over five million (5,000,000) units, since W.A.T.C.H.’s 2006 “10 Worst Toys” conference. Lead, which accumulates in a child’s body over time, can cause permanent, irreversible injuries such as growth and behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and death. According to the National Safety Council’s most recent data (2005), there are more than 400,000 children younger than 6 years old with unacceptable levels of lead in their blood. (W.A.T.C.H. World Against Toys Causing Harm)." Toy manufacturers are well aware of the dangers of lead poisoning. The alarming number of toy recalls for lead alone is frightening evidence of an industry that cares more about profits than the safety of our children. The problem is real and significant.
When Shopping for Toys
Look for age recommendations and companies that make toy safety part of their message and goal. As a rule, try to avoid plastic toys!!! This is difficult, I know. But plastics are anti-green at three levels. 1. They are very likely to be manufactured with toxic chemicals causing large-scale pollution at manufacturing locations. 2. They may cause exposure to chemical toxins through physical contact or by releasing toxins into the air in your home. For more info see Chemicals of Concern 3. They don't biodegrade. Many types of plastic cannot be recycled and even the process of recycling itself can be a pollutant. Plastics are thrown away, ending up in landfills and creating the great Pacific Garbage Patch of floating plastic particles in the central Pacific gyre. Wooden, cloth, and metal toys are so much greener!
General toys to Avoid:Loud toys may cause hearing loss Battery-operated toys may leak, overheat or explodeElectric toys without step-down transformers may risk of shock and electrocution.Toys with sharp tips or edges may cut or puncture Toys with flammable materials such as petro-chemicals, foams, etc.
Choking Hazards:Toys with small partsFurry or hairy toysLong-handled toys Toys with small, removable attachments at the ends of strings on doornobs, etc.
Strangulation Hazards:Toys with strings longer than 6 inchesToys to be strung across a crib or playpen
Finding Fun, Safe Toys
The good news is that there are plenty of adorable, fun toys available for infant on up. The bad news is that most of them are not available locally. If you'd like to buy your children or your grandchildren alternatives to questionable plastics and mass-marketed toys made in China, planning ahead and shopping online is your best bet. You can visit EuphoriaBaby.com to get started!