Thursday, August 5, 2010

Five Toxic Toys That May Give Your Baby a Third Arm

Okay,'s unlikely that playing with toxic toys will encourage growth of an extra limb. But many mainstream (and really fun) toys contain endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals that are believed to cause life long risks for neurological, developmental and reproductive problems. Many are also suspected carcinogens. The developing brains of babies and children are particularly susceptible to these risks. Here are five popular (and toxic) toys that you may have in your home right now:

For some reason, I had it in my head that this was a "safe" toy and bought it a few weeks ago. It's one of my favorites - although Nate could take it or leave it. I was so sad to see it listed here at Good Guide under "worst toys." It received a 2.0 (out of 10) for heath because it contains tin. According to tin is a chemical of concern in plastics because: Exposure to organotins can harm the nervous system, particularly the developing brain, as well as the immune system. There is no standard for the migration of tin from toys. Tin is used in organotin stabilizers of PVC plastic products.

Nate received this classic toy as a gift and absolutely loves it. Unfortunately, according to the testing done by it looks like it contains PVC. Polyvinyl chloride is a nasty endocrine disruptor. According to Healthy Stuff, 150 European communities have banned PVC or have policies to phase it out. Look here for more information on PVC (there's just too much info on the nasty toxin to put it here).

Lamaze Jacques the Peacock
We don't have Jacques, but it was on my baby registry and it was always a toy that I had my eye on, especially since it got a thumbs up at ZRecs. Good Guide gave it a 2.0 for health because it contains dangerous levels of Antimony as well as low levels of PVC and Bromine. From Health effects associated with antimony, depending on the level of exposure, include possible cancer, lung and heart problems and impacts on fertility. The toy industry has a standard for migration of antimony from toys of 60 ppm. While most tested toys were found to have no antimony, some toys had low levels (<500 ppm) and a few had over 1000 ppm. The low levels are consistent with antimony's use as a catalyst in polyester production. The high levels may indicate its use as a flame retardant. In either case, antimony may be released from the plastic in question.

I was just ill when I saw that this scored a 2.0 for health at Good Guide. Nate doesn't have this exact model - he has the very similar Precious Planet Jumperoo. Over the course of his life Nate has spent HOURS in the jumperoo. According to Good Guide, the Rainforest Jumperoo has dangerous levels of Antimony and Chromium. From on the chemical form, chromium can be an essential micronutrient (Cr III) or associated with occupational carcinogens and reproductive hazards (Cr VI). The toy industry has a standard for migration of chromium from toys of 60 ppm. Chromium (Cr) is found in metal alloys and stainless steel as well as in wood preservatives and textiles.

This was our first rubber duck. It scores a big fat ZERO at Good Guide for the levels of phthalates found in the ubiquitous rubber duck. Luckily I threw it out long ago and opted for non-toxic Boon bath ducks. From Good Guide: Emerging research shows that phthalates exposure is linked to birth defects in males, as well as liver problems and disruption of hormone systems. Phthalates have also been associated with decreased fertility and damage to the liver, testes, thyroid, ovaries, kidneys, and blood.

Looking for safe toys? Check out Nubius Organics. Enter code NATERTOT to save 5% off your order.
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