{ Health & Wellness }

CLEAN LIVING

FOUL PLAY

Despite increased regulation, our babes still live in a toxic toyland. Here’s how to avoid chemicals in your GI Joes and Elmos.

By Andra Coberly

When you become a parent, you begin to see your possessions as grenades disguised as houseplants, electrical cords, lamps and throw pillows.

Seemingly, everything within a little arm’s reach can pose a threat. As parents, it’s your job to protect your kiddo from the constant presence of these domestic landmines, and nowhere is that threat more real than in your toy box.

While the U.S. has focused on mechanical safety—such as choking hazards—regulators have given less attention to the toxins within toys. Chemicals that have been found in toys at dangerous levels include lead, flame retardants, Bisphenol A, certain dyes and phthalates, an additive that helps PVC plastics become flexible and that may affect human reproduction and development.

True, the federal government and state governments have increased regulation and requirements for some of these chemicals. There are more than a dozen chemicals restricted nationally in toys, including lead and six types of phthalates.

However, recalls for violating these standards happen after millions of products have been sold. Some products sneak through our global supply chain into the American marketplace. And in some cases, there are no regulations in place. That would be the case for BPA, which is banned in toys in seven U.S. states but not federally or in Colorado. BPA has been shown to affect neural and reproductive development and has been linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A recent study showed the presence of BPA in all 59 baby teethers that were tested.

 

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