The Discovery of Possible Harmful Substances in Plastic Toys

Plastic Toys

Plastic Toys

It is no longer news that plastic toys made in all parts of the world contain different kinds of harmful chemicals. While this is just the fact, it is quite unfortunate that parents cannot effectively determine if a plastic toy contains chemicals that are injurious to the health of their children.

This is becoming a huge problem because there are no international rules and regulations that forbid the use of certain chemicals in plastic toys. The reason is that each region or country of the world has its unique regulations and labeling schemes, meaning banned substances in one country or region might be allowed in another country. In most cases, these regulations about what materials not to include when making plastic toys only focus on substances with huge harmful effects.

Read Also: 95% of Baby Food Containers Contaminated with Toxic Substances in the US

Recently, it took the combined efforts of some researchers from UN Environment, DTU, and the University of Michigan to carry out a study about the amounts of chemicals, the functions of these chemicals, the exposure of children to these chemicals, and the effects of the harmful chemicals found in plastic toys. After they were able to research the health risk of each substance, they proceeded by making a comparison of each substance with other existing harmful substances. This comparison was done with due consideration of the priority substances lists of each country. For interested minds, the findings of this study have been published in the journal Environment International.

What seemed like the major breakthrough of this study was the fact that about 126 chemicals of the 419 chemicals commonly used in children’s toys were tested to contain harmful substances that can increase children’s vulnerability to some health conditions.  The researchers believed these chemicals are capable of increasing children’s chances of developing different kinds of diseases like cancer and others. One of the recommendations made by one of the researchers, Peter Fantke, is that manufacturers should consider the use of safer alternatives (chemicals that pose little to no health risks to children).

Read Also: Trinity College Dublin: Babies Swallow Millions of Microplastic Particles per Day

However, the study author, Nicolò Aurisano, and a Ph.D. student under Peter Fantke lamented the decision of most manufacturers not to include satisfactory information about the composition of each chemical in their products (plastic toys). These constant practices of toy manufacturers didn’t go down well with the researchers, because they had to carry out some chemical tests on each toy before they could get their chemical content.

Also, the researchers were able to gather information about the exposure of children to these toys. For instance, they discovered that about 18 kilograms of plastic toys are possessed by children, most especially by those in Western countries.

According to the researchers, butyrate TXIB, brominated flame retardants, phthalates, and citrate ATBC are examples of harmful substances found in plastic toys. Although the researchers recommended the use of safer alternatives, they also urged toy manufacturers to subject them to further research.

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To confirm the research work, a similar study carried out by some researchers from Arnika, BioDetection Systems, and International Pollutants Elimination Network also supported the findings of Peter Fantke and his team.

How to prevent the health risks posed by these harmful chemicals

The researchers explained that in order to stop or reduce the health risks posed by the harmful chemicals in plastic toys, manufacturers should endeavor to put relevant information relating to the use and composition of each chemical used in their products. As a result, the researchers proposed a metric system that would show the composition of each chemical, risk, and exposure.

According to the researchers, plastic toys with harmful chemicals won’t stop coming into the European market unless relevant authorities see their negative impacts on children’s health. Since there are no ways parents can determine the harmful chemicals in toys, the researchers advised them to reduce children’s exposure to plastic materials, especially soft plastic toys. Also, parents should ensure that their children’s rooms are well-ventilated.

The US government needs to also update its standards on toys to protect American kids by requiring manufacturers to disclose all the chemicals in their products.

Read Also: University of Turku: Stress Experienced by Fathers in Their Childhood Can Affect Their Newborn Children

Do you have any concerns about your kid’s toys please share your thoughts in the comments area below!

References

Chemicals of concern in plastic toys

 

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