The holiday shopping season is now upon us. Every retail store, and shopping mall is raising their big ‘Sales of the Season’ signs and each competing for your dollar. Your children’s eyes are beginning to develop that twinkle about them, and letters to Santa are beginning to be drafted.
Before you set your alarm clock this Black Friday to storm the stores for all the latest toys please take this into consideration.
August 2007 Mattel toys recalls 18.6 million toys that “might contain tiny, dangerous magnets or toxic lead paint”. These magnets inside of the toys if swallowed have been known to connect across intestines and rip a child’s bowls apart.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or vinyl is one of the most hazardous plastics to humans and the environment. When heated PVC can produce dioxins, the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested. (http://www.besafenet.com/pvc/about.htm)
Do you love that “new doll” smell? What you really smell is an additive in PVC called phthalates (“tha-lates”)
Which when ingested or inhaled have been linked to cancer, internal damage, and harm to developing reproductive organs and premature breast development in baby girls. PVC is used in teethers, pacifiers, bath toys and dolls.
According to the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) fast stats website Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children: 6.1 million.
August 2007: Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard. And which well-known character was leading the Toxic Toys Parade? None other than my daughters’ favorite friend, Elmo along with Dora and Diego. Consumers were instructed to stop using the recalled products immediately!
Listed on Keepkidshealthy.com, a site recommended by Pediatricians it is stated that
“Lead poisoning is an important cause of learning disabilities, anemia, growth problems and children exposed to lead may have problems with paying attention and being aggressive.”
500,000 children [in the USA] were diagnosed ADHD in 1985 and between 5 and 7 million were today. (http://www.adhd-report.com/adhd/1_adhd_statistics.html)
While I cannot confirm that lead and PVC is the leading cause in our societies rise of infertility and behavioral problems, it is, I believe, something to consider and pay close attention to. Our daughter was born summer of 2007 when all of the major toy manufactures were coming out and recalling toys due to toxins. Since then we have encouraged our family members and friends to please seek out all natural toys, or Made in the USA products when shopping for our child.
Buying non-toxic toys is not as easy as just going to your local toy store. It takes some research online as well as reading labels. However, great lengths and lobbying have taken place to insure that our children’s toys will not harm them.
August 14th, 2008 President George Bush signed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. It requires that toys and infant products be tested before they are sold, and by banning lead and phthalates in toys. The bill also will create the first comprehensive publicly accessible consumer complaint database, give the CPSC new resources to protect the public, increase civil penalties that CPSC can assess against violators of CPSC laws, and protect whistleblowers who report product safety defects. Six types of phthalates, chemicals linked to genital defects in males, have been banned from toys along with lead. Also, toys will be required to follow a complex list of rules intended to make them safer. The phthalate provision makes three phthalates permanently illegal and three others temporarily illegal. Don’t however assume that the toys on the shelf are now 100% safe. The new bill does not take affect until Jan. 1st 2009. The Wal-Mart Corporation anticipated this being passed and in March 2008 announced to their toy distributors that they will no longer sell toys containing most phthalates. Toys-R-Us went a step further in saying that after Jan. 1st 2009 they will not sell ANY products containing phthalates (Mothering magazine November/December 2008 issue)
Change is coming, but it is not here yet. What you can do before then is seek out other options. You can find an alternative to most children’s toys. There are all natural blocks, toys, pulling toys, dolls, stuffed animals, cars and trucks, balls, even books!
There are popular brands such as Melissa and Doug Toys, while they have a manufacturer in China all of their toys are tested again according to USA Safety standards. http://www.melissaanddoug.com/toysafety.phtml
A common complaint I find is that these toys, while not easily attainable are also quite expensive. To that I say, “Yes, you are right. BUT! With some searching it can be found. Some of my favorite websites are:
www.etsy.com (just type in all natural toys)
www.happymothers.com They offer no sales tax to all states and offer over 200 Melissa and Doug products as well as many others!
Or you can skip the research and check out my blog every Tuesday where I offer a toy review on a nontoxic toy product, and not only that, I provide you with a link to where you can buy it at the lowest price.
Let me also add this, I am in no way a toy Nazi. Our daughter has stuffed animals that probably contain who knows what! We do have random McDonald Happy Meal toys and Mr. Potato Head parts strewn about. I am diligent against Fisher Price and stay up to date on all recall products. As a parent it is our responsibility to ensure our children are safe. I will also add this, if your child is older and past the age of taste testing every thing lying with in reach, then you probably have less to “worry” about. I do however urge parents of babies, toddlers and Pre-School children to do a little research before they do their holiday shopping. I think you will be surprised at all the classic, charming and non-toxic toys that are available out there to us. Allow your children to shop online with you. Expose them to new options and a new way of thinking. It will not only be healthy for them but also healthy for our environment.
Best of luck! And Happy Shopping!