I recently read an article about toy safety and wanted to share some information with you. In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) established safety requirements for toys, but numerous children continue to be exposed to and injured by toxic toys.
Lead, cadmium, phthalates, flame retardants, and formaldehyde are harmful chemicals often found in toys. The CPSIA bans toys containing lead in excess of 100 ppm, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends toys should not exceed lead limits of 40 ppm., and the Academy actually views any lead exposure in children as harmful. With lead restrictions, manufacturers began using cadmium, a soft toxic metal, but it is also a carcinogen that can cause developmental problems and kidney and bone damage. Phthalates are used to make plastic softer and more pliable; however, phthalates can cause hormonal disruption or cancer in laboratory animals. In 2012, the CPSIA banned phthalates in toys but not in other items such as school supplies. The flame retardant TDCPP is a carcinogen supposedly not used since the 1970’s. Unfortunately, TDCPP has been found recently in children’s products made of polyurethane foam. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that can cause leukemia, nose and throat cancer, asthma, and skin problems, is used in children’s clothing and bedding to prevent wrinkles and in pressed and composite wood.
Keeping children safe should always be a priority. Avoid toys made prior to 2012; avoid all toys made in China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines; avoid non brand name toys; avoid cheap metal costume jewelry; and avoid small metal toys that could fit in a child’s mouth. When purchasing non-toy items, only buy plastic labeled “phthalate free.” When purchasing items such as car seats, high chairs, and baby carriers, buy items made of cotton, wool, or polyester instead of polyurethane foam. Finally, to avoid purchasing items with formaldehyde, buy items that specifically say they are “formaldehyde-free” and avoid clothing that is pre-shrunk and wrinkle-free.
Parents and grandparents have enough to worry about when caring for children: toys should not pose dangers. However, they do, so we must be vigilant about the items we bring into our homes and expose to our children. We should strive to keep our children and grandchildren safe, and we hope they are never seriously injured or hurt. I’m a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney who, for over 30 years, has concentrated on handling all types of injury cases for both adults and children. If you or a family member is injured as the result of the negligent acts of someone else, please call me.
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Martin, Diana. “Should Your Kids Be Playing with That?” Florida Justice Association Journal, Jan. 2013: 18.