Thursday, February 26, 2009

Toy Thursday - Non-toxic toys

Instead of talking about one toy this week I want to bring up the subject of what is a non-toxic toy. In another post I will look at what makes a toy green; so this post is strictly about chemicals and toxins.

Everyday we make purchases and decisions on behalf of our little ones from what clothing will they wear; to what will they eat; to what will they play with; and everything else they do. Our children are our responsibility and it's up to us to ensure they are safe.

You would think that if a toy has been approved for sale in Canada that it is safe for play; think again everyday toys are recalled. The recalls catch the toys that don't meet the governments standards but are the standards high enough?

Let's look at various toxins that can be found in toys: (because Christophe keeps me extra busy, I am going yo divide this post in sections each one talking about a toxin)

This weeks toxin is - LEAD

We all know lead is bad, it can be found in your water supply, old construction materials, and paint in your home, it has also been known to turn up in painted toys and kids jewelry.

"Scientists have found there is no safe level of lead for children - even the smallest amount effects a child's ability to learn. Children are more vulnerable than adults to lead. Lead impacts brain development, causing learning and developmental problems including decreased IQ scores, shorter attention spans, and delayed learning" 1

Because lead is a natural element it is found in almost everything around us, trace amounts are probably in all toys. What you want is that your toy does not leach lead. Well this should not only apply to toys but to everything in your home; but we are talking about toys.

How do I avoid lead toys, unless you personally test all your toys for lead there is no way of being 100% certain that your child does not own a toy that contains lead but there are ways you can reduce the chance of this happening.
  1. avoid buying no-name brand toys
  2. avoid buying toys from the dollar store - they are notorious for recalls
  3. do not buy second hand toys that have metal bits or paint unless you know the manufacturer. This way you can look up the toy to see if it has ever been recall
  4. do not buy metal jewelry - especial cheep jewelry - for young children. Over 20% of children jewelry contain lead.
  5. buy a home lead kit test and test some of your toys, the results may surprise you. (I hope that you do not find any lead in your toys buy I would not count on it)
  6. my last tip is use your common sens, check up on the company see if they have had recalls in the past for lead, if so how many, how long ago. If the company has a bad reputation and lots of recalls I would personally avoid purchasing from them.
Number 5 said to get a lead paint test kit, these can be purchased at most reputable paint stores.

Additional reading:
Lead saftey in Toys
A third of toys contain detectable lead
Consumer Product Recalls
Product Recalls
Healthy Toys

I leave you with this question: Have you ever had experience with lead in toys? do you have tips on how to help to avoid lead in toys?

1 - Healthy Toys

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