Thursday, February 12, 2009

Toyland Still Not Safe

Warm weather is pulling up the moisture up from the snow - what a sight.

Score one for toy safety, minus one for safety details.

The toy safety issue with the recent ban on phthalates and lead in toys is a great step forward but has no where near solved the problem. This is very similar to the BPA issue where some companies have replaced BPA. That is a great move but how many people ask the question...What have you replaced it with and is that safe?

Some of the replacement chemicals for phthalates being put into toys have no track record on research and come packaged in fancy names that make doing your own research next to impossible. Even the Eastman Tritan chemical that has replaced BPA in Nalgenes claims to have passed all the EPA and FDA standards but we know that can meaningless. I can't find the actual research with numbers, testing levels etc. They just say they passed the minimums set forth by these agencies. The key word being minimum. That's like our packaged food being allowed to have .5 grams of transfat per serving but the company is allowed to plaster all over the package "Trans FAT Free". It's all about the minimum.

Back to toys - NPR did an excellent job reporting about this today, asking similar thought provoking questions...Is the replacement for phthalates safe? The article concludes that there is no conclusion because of 4 basic reasons:
1 - Too many chemicals on the market to truly assess the safety of all of them
2 - Federal law does not require disclosure of the chemicals used
3 - Lack of Transparency - Companies use the "propriety secret" as a reason for not divulging their chemical ingredients
4 - Methods for testing chemicals are outdated and not keeping up with demand.

Luckily California has a new law that will eventually require chemical ingredient listing. That's a start.

So what about plastic toys? My take is, anything that might go in the mouth at a given age should be safe and not made out of any kind of plastic or lead (beware of paints). Most 10 year old girls don't suck on their American Girl Dolls (gosh I hope not) so that would be a safe situation. It really gets down to the little ones that still like to chew and suck on things. Some outgrow it sooner than others. Want full peace of mind? Forgo the plastic until you really know the child doesn't do the in your mouth thing. Remember...wood is good.

No comments: