The importance of choosing organic toys
Buying toys for young children is always a difficult task. You obviously need to consider the age appropriateness of the toy, but do you consider what the toy is made from? Organic toys and carefully checked toys are a fantastic option for young (particularly teething) children, not just because they look and feel nice, but because they are safe to be played with and chewed on. Toys made from organic components carry less chance of making your child sick as harmful chemicals are not used in their production. Did you know that the big chain stores had thousands of toys removed from their shelves last Christmas for being unsafe? When buying toys, be sure to either go 100% organic, or use the checklist below to be sure you’re avoiding the most dangerous materials in toys.
Consider some of these frightening materials used in commercially available children’s products when you are next out toy shopping –
Bromine as a flame retardant
Flame retardants are used commonly in products targeted at children. Bromine is one of the most common flame retardant chemicals used in plastics and can frequently be found in toy cars, plush toys and also in children’s car seats. Delayed brain development and lung damage are major health issues that can occur from exposure to bromine, as well as thyroid hormone system function.
Cadmium as a lead substitute
it is just as dangerous in the manufacturing of toys, cadmium is commonly used as a substitute to lead. Drinking glasses and red, orange and yellow pigmented toy paints have been found to contain this metal. Cadmium is found to attach to hormone receptor cells and affect the reproductive system, similar to dangerous chemicals like BPA and phthalates. Other ill-effects include attention and memory problems and kidney, liver, lung and brain damage. Once exposed, cadmium can stay in the body for more than 20 years.
Lead paints used in children’s toys
One of the best-known toxins used in toy manufacturing is lead. Up until 2008, guidelines did not exist to govern the amount of lead contained in children’s toys. Any amount of lead exposure is harmful to our health, even though minimal amounts are still permitted in children’s toys. This makes researching before purchasing young children’s teething toys a vital step. Paint used on wooden toys like blocks and toy furniture and children’s cribs and playpens frequently contain small amounts of lead. Incredibly often, lead is found in toy jewellery at levels substantially above those found in other children’s products. Developmental delays and brain, kidney or nervous system damage have been linked to lead exposure, with some cases proving fatal. Exposure to lead is not only through consumption, it can also be absorbed through the skin.
Mercury from batteries
Mercury, commonly found in batteries and light bulbs, is hard to avoid with the high-technology toys on themarket. Batteries in toys must be completely enclosed in compartments unable to be accessed by little hands to avoid mercury exposure. Mercury has also been found in crayons, chalk and bath toys. Contact with mercury can cause brain and renal system development issues.
Phthalates in soft plastic toys
To teething infants a soft, squeezable toy is great to chew on. Unfortunately, many of these toys have phthalates added to the plastic to increase their softness. Phthalate toxins are readily released from toys when chewed or sucked on, making them incredibly dangerous to small children. Phthalates can inhibit development of the endocrine and reproductive systems, as well as cause damage to the liver and kidneys, leading to cancer in some cases.
These are just a few of the most common chemicals that can be found in young children’s toys. Certified organic toys carry the guarantee that nasty chemicals have not been used in their production, which makes them the safest non-toxic choice for teething children. Our range of Teething Rings and Rattles are 100% organic and safe for teething!
Guest blog by Doan at Little Organics.
Doan Vo is an Australian expert on “sustainable parenting” including the importance of organic baby products and is a vocal advocate of better labelling and information for parents. She sources natural alternatives to leading baby products and food stuffs to assist parents to make informed choices.