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Healthy Toys? – Ask Annie

Submitted by on Friday, 28 August 2009No Comment

Taste and DiscoverDear Annie,
I have two children under three years old and am worried about whether or not their toys are healthy because they are almost all plastic! I can’t afford handmade wooden toys. At least all of these toys are hand-me-downs and so don’t actually smell of plastic. What to do?
–Jacquie, NM

Dear Jackie,

Here is a site for you: The Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys. Their site (www.healthytoys.org) has a database with test results of heavy metal contamination for more than 2,200 toys and children’s products. You don’t need to know the actual brand of the toy (which is especially hard with used toys), but the type of toy will do. You can also search by brand.

There are more than just toys in this database. Check out backpacks and more. Find lists of the worst toys. (Pay attention if you own a Disney necklace with two hearts and HM graphic, as it is extremely high in lead.)

Levels of heavy metals tested are of lead, bromine, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, mercury, and other heavy metals such as tin and antimony.

While knowing that heavy metals are contaminating toys is crucial, given that they can cause birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer, reducing exposure to plastic is also important. Try not to allow your kids to put plastic in their mouths (as this child is doing in the photo). “Outgassed” plastic–that which really no longer smells, is far better than plastic that you can smell, as long as it isn’t put in the mouth.

The Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys: Eco-Win

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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