Are your children playing with toys that are unsafe or have dangerous chemicals in them? Our children are precious to us and we would never do anything to harm them or put them in danger. Did you realize many toys that are sold in our stores contain extremely harmful ingredients that could affect your child health? I think it is important for you to learn about this especially since it is the Holiday Season and that time of year where we purchase many toys for children. So before you put any toys under your tree, take a look at what they might contain such as lead, arsenic, mercury, phthalates, and other dangers.
Some Important Useful Information:
In February 2006, a 4-year-old boy in Minneapolis, Minn., accidentally swallowed a small silver-colored, heart-shaped locket that had broken off of an eight-inch long bracelet that was given away with the purchase of children’s shoes in many major shoes stores across the country. In most circumstances, the locket would have passed through the boy’s system or been removed in a medical procedure. But this wasn’t “most circumstances.” The locket contained a high concentration of lead. Sadly the little boy died from this toxic toy.
This locket was disturbed from May 2004 until a few weeks after the boy’s death. After the boy’s death, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 1 million toys containing potentially dangerous levels of the chemical. Even after the boy’s death in Minneapolis, children’s toys remained near the top of the list of consumer safety concerns.
One of every three toys tested in a study of 1,500 popular children’s toys contained potentially harmful levels of lead, arsenic, mercury and other dangerous chemicals, according to findings released last year by the Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based consumer safety organization.
Depending on exposure levels, all the chemicals assessed in the study have been linked with equally serious health issues. Arsenic has been linked to cancer, blood disorders and damage to fetal development. Cadmium can cause serious harm to the kidneys and lung. Bromine, a chemical widely used in flame retardants, has been linked to birth defects and reproductive problems.
Many of the material in children’s jewelry contain many of these hazardous toxins.”Toxins were five times as likely to be found in jewelry as any other category of children’s products,” said Shriberg. Fifteen percent of the jewelry tested (compared to 3% of other products) had lead levels above 600 parts per million (ppm)
It is hard to understand why the United States remain one of the few developed countries to allow children to play with toys that some scientists say may cause infertility in boys? The toys in question contain substances called phthalates. While the European Union has banned these substances in products meant for children, there is powerful resistance from the chemical and toy industries to doing the same here.
Investigative Journalist Mark Schapiro, author of “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power,” tells NOW, “By refusing to close the loopholes in EPA laws that regulate chemicals in toys (and other products), the U.S. government is jeopardizing our health, alienating us from the global market, and erasing our role as a world leader in environmental protection.”
NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels from California, where citizens have successfully gotten the state to pass a ban on phthalates in children’s toys, to New York City’s prestigious Toy Fair, and to Washington, D.C., to uncover some answers.
Phthalates help make plastic toys like some rubber ducks and teething rings soft and pliable, but scientific evidence suggests that exposure to phthalates may interfere with the sexual development of boys. Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban phthalates in toys. The toy and chemical industries sued the city to block implementation, claiming there’s not enough evidence to warrant any action.
Testing the soft plastic toys purchased in San Francisco, we reported that in some cases there were concentrations up to 730 times what would be considered the legal limit in the European Union.
Numerous scientists have documented the potential health effects of exposure to phthalates in the womb or at crucial stages of development. U.S. EPA studies show that the cumulative impact of different phthalates leads to an exponential increase in associated harm. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), levels of phthalates found in humans are higher than levels shown to cause adverse health effects. The data also show phthalate levels are highest in children.
Some other potential dangers:
Researchers at the U.S. PIRG, a public interest research organization, have released their 27th annual report on toxic toys. More than just chemicals can cause harm — Such as:
Choking Hazards: Choking on small toy parts, on small balls, on marbles and balloons continues to be the major cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Between 1990 and 2010, over 200 children died from a choking incident.
Magnets in Toys: Another danger is magnet toys, such as the Buckyball magnets that are the subject of a CPSC court action, posing danger to children. Magnet toys are made with neodymium iron boron magnets, which are extremely strong and can severely pinch fingers. But even worse they can cause severe internal damage if swallowed. CPSC staff reported gastroenterological injuries and have estimated nationwide that between 2009 and 2011 there were 1,700 emergency room cases, which 70% of these involved children between the ages if 4 and 12 from the ingestion of high-powered magnets.
Noisy Toys: Research has shown a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12; this may be in part due to many children using toys and other children’s products that emit loud sounds such as music players.
(Click here– “Trouble in Toyland” just in time to warn parents heading out to fill holiday wish lists. So check this out before you purchase any toys.
To report any sort of unsafe toy go to- www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx or www.cpsc.gov/about/contact.html call the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772.
I think it is our our duty to be vigilant this holiday season, and remember that our children are at danger! We all need to do our part in making all toys safe for our children and we can do this if we speak out and say “we’ve had enough”! Write to your congressmen and senators – make Congress put a stop to endangering our children’s health and welfare. No more chemicals in toys or toys that can cause our children harm. We love and nurture our children and without knowing we could can be exposing them to harm.
We all need to do our part to “Go Green” to “Live a Healthier Lifestyle” and leave a positive ecological footprint for all future generations!
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Quote of the Day: “Children are our most valuable resource!” — Herbert Hoover