Forgot Password?
Written by Lindsay Crowder   
Share |
Thursday, 04 December 2008

Toy Safety

The holiday season presents a huge list of things to think about: travel, gift giving, meal planning, and so forth. If you have children or are buying a gift for a child this year, you may also want to think about whether or not the toy you are considering may be toxic. Yes… toxic! Among the many threats that toys present, namely, choking hazards, excessive noise, or dangerous magnets, many of the toys on the market still contain toxins.

Although many consumer groups propounded in recent years that toys are safer than ever before, millions of toys were recalled in 2007. These toys were found to contain toxins such as lead, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, or hormone-disrupting phthalates. Toxins pose a risk to human health and the environment. However, until recently no governmental agency tested toys before they made it to store shelves. Fortunately, on August 14, 2008, the bi-partisan Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was signed, making consumer products safer by requiring that toys and infant products be tested before they are sold, and by banning toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates from being used during toy production.

The idea of buying a toxic toy for a child can be threatening. The organization HealthyToys.org (www.HealthyToys.org) tested over 1,200 children’s products and found lead in 35% of the products, cadmium in 2.9%, arsenic in 2.2%, and mercury in 0.7% of the products tested. Also according to the consumer group U.S. PIRG, “while the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a major step forward, many of its protections don’t take effect until 2009, so it’s still ‘buyer beware’ for this shopping season.” Before shopping, check out the list of recalled items at http://cpsc.gov/ and http://www.recalls.gov/. The U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), has also released a report that details dangerous toys called, “Trouble in Toyland: The 23rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety” along with an online searchable database of toxic toys at http://www.uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety. On December 3, 2008, http://www.healthytoys.org/ will release their 2008 Toy Ratings for over 100 products.

After doing some at-home research, below are some resources to help you avoid buying toxic toys this holiday season:

• Avoid buying toys made with #3 PVC plastics. PVC plastic contains additives that can leach toxic chemicals. To search whether a product contains PVC by name, brand, or type of toy, check out http://www.healthytoys.org/.
• Avoid metal jewelry and small animal figurines for children. These products contained the highest amount of lead when tested. To view the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of lead recalls, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/Recalls/default.htm.
• Review the “ Best Toys” and “Worst Toys” lists given by HealthyToys.org. They include toys with and without the high levels of lead, cadmium, chlorine, tin, chromium, arsenic, mercury, bromine, and antimony. The best: http://www.healthytoys.org/product.least.php. The worst: http://www.healthytoys.org/product.most.php.
• Buy plastic free toys. Fabric, unpainted wood, cotton, or plush toys are abundant and safe alternatives to plastics. But if you must buy plastic, try looking for kits made by LEGO (http://www.lego.com/), as this company promotes PVC and phthalate free plastics for use in toys.
• Buy natural, non-toxic branded toys. The rise in green consciousness has also translated to the toy world. For vendors of natural toys, go to http://www.planethappytoys.com/ or http://www.ecomall.com/biz/toys.htm.
At this point, there is not a comprehensive all-inclusive list of toys to avoid. You can begin to narrow down your search by using the resources given above. Or you can keep your eyes open for the following manufacturers and companies that are committed to safe, PVC-free toys:

• Manufacturers: Brio, Chicco, Early Start, First Years, IKEA, Lamaze Infant Development, Lego, Little Tykes, Playmobil, Primetime Playthings, Ravensburger, Sassy and Tiny Love.
• Companies: Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Kmart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple, and Toys “R” Us. For a full list of companies, check out: http://www.besafenet.com/pvc/companypolicies.htm.
• Completely non-toxic vendors: www.Beyond-learning.com, www.Bioviva.com/us, www.Crispina.com, www.Kenanausa.com, www.Novanatural.com, www.Oompa.com, www.Playstoretoys.com, and www.Treeblocks.com.
Don’t let toxic toys get you down this holiday season. If you are still unsure of a specific toy while you are shopping, www.momsrising.org has developed a text message program to answer your questions while you shop. Just text 41411 with the message body: “healthytoys [search term]” with the search term being either the name of toy, type of toy, manufacturer, or retailer, and you will get an instant response with the toxicity of the product. For specific instructions, go to http://www.momsrising.org/NoToxicToys. And remember, when in doubt, it is always safest to buy eco-friendly products!

Browse all Greeniacs Articles Browse all Greeniacs Guides        Browse all Greeniacs Articles
_______________________________________________________________________________

1 http://www.uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety.
2 http://www.healthytoys.org/about.findings.php.  
3 http://www.uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety.





Comments (1)
RSS comments
1. 20-03-2011 06:49
Thanks for sharing! I posted this on my facebook page! :)
Registered
greeniac2082200

Only registered users can write comments.
Please login or register.

Click here to Register.  Click here to login.

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 October 2011 )

SEARCH GREENIACS.COM

Green Facts

  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch.

  • Washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds.

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away instead of recycled will still be a can 500 years from now!

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months

  • One recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

  • In California homes, about 10% of energy usage is related to TVs, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVD players.

  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.

  • A tree that provides a home with shade from the sun can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

  • American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.

  • A laptop consumes five times less electricity than a desktop computer.

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die prematurely worldwide every year due to air pollution.

  • You will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 miles you drive if you always keep your car’s tires fully inflated.

  • Current sea ice levels are at least 47% lower than they were in 1979.

  • Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save as much as 10 gallons a day per person.

  • Less than 1% of electricity in the United States is generated from solar power.

  • In the United States, automobiles produce over 20 percent of total carbon emissions. Walk or bike and you'll save one pound of carbon for every mile you travel.

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

  • Due to tiger poaching, habitat destruction, and other human-tiger conflicts, tigers now number around 3,200—a decrease in population by about 70% from 100 years ago.

  • 77% of people who commute to work by car drive alone.

  • It takes 6,000,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.

  • Refrigerators built in 1975 used 4 times more energy than current models.

  • You’ll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.

  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.

  • Nudge your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

  • Americans throw away more than 120 million cell phones each year, which contribute 60,000 tons of waste to landfills annually.

  • Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent stands of trees.

  • Recycling 1 million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by 3,657 homes in the U.S. over the course of a year.

  • Recycling 100 million cell phones can save enough energy to power 18,500 homes in the U.S. for a year.

  • For every 38,000 bills consumers pay online instead of by mail, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved.

  • If every U.S. household turned the thermostat down by 10 degrees for seven hours each night during the cold months, and seven hours each weekday, it would prevent nearly gas emissions.

  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.

  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70%.

  • You will save 100 pounds of carbon for each incandescent bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), over the life of the bulb.

  • 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from burning fossil fuels.

  • States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.

  • Recycling for one year at Stanford University saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.

  • Glass can be recycled over and over again without ever wearing down.

  • Shaving 10 miles off of your weekly driving pattern can eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.