Many of the toys nowadays are made of plastic. Although plastic toys are durable and easy to handle they may also pose health risks. Our mouth is the major entry way for toxins to enter and get absorbed into our bodies. Babies are quite fond of chewing toys and exploring with their mouths and if they chew toys that are harmful it would be quite dangerous for their health.
What makes some Plastics a Health Hazard?
There are a range of toxic compounds found in many common plastics. These include BPA and phthalates. Many of the toys that children play with everyday are manufactured form these plastics. When these toys enter children’s mouths the toxins are transferred to the children’s bodies. There have been no conclusive results as to how the toxins affect the body but some studies suggest that the toxins in the plastics are capable of interfering with the hormones in the human body.
Even though the government is now implementing stricter guidelines about the kinds of materials that can be used in the manufacturing of toys, the problem hasn’t been completely solved yet. Many of the toys sitting in stores right now are not in line with the guidelines and have exceeded the maximum limits of harmful ingredients.
In the U.S. phthalates have now been banned in the manufacturing of plastic toys. Safe plastic toys can also be found by checking the recycling numbers. Plastic toys with the recycling numbers 3, 6 and 7 should not be bought as they may contain BPA. When buying second hand toys or taking hand me downs, keep in mind that they may have been manufactured before the safety guidelines were enforced. Take extra care and be cautious about any toxic plastics or lead paint on those toys.
Selecting Safe Plastic Toys:
Plastics such as 1, 2 and 5 are used in the manufacturing of safe plastic toys. However, even if you’re buying these safe toys you still have to be careful. High temperatures cause the leeching out of chemicals. This is why you should avoid using plastic containers for heating things in the microwave. You should also avoid putting hot water or any other liquids in plastic bottles.
If you want to clean plastic toys or any other plastic products make sure you don’t use any harsh chemicals. This is because they have the ability of breaking down the plastic. It is best to use mild soapy water.
It is usually very difficult to distinguish safe plastic toys from the unsafe ones. If you’re having problems in this department it could help do learn a little bit more about the manufacturer of the toy. Check their website about any mentions of toxic substances in their toys or about commitments to use of natural materials in manufacturing.
Also check if their name comes up on any healthy toy databases. Sometimes you may not find much about the manufacturers but the increased flow of information has made manufacturers really cautious about their ingredients and they may list something that would assure you of the toy’s safety.
In case you are still doubtful about finding safe plastic toys you can avoid plastic toys altogether. You could buy wooden or cloth toys for your kids instead. Since plastic is a widely used material you might not be able to avoid it altogether but you could definitely reduce the amount of plastic in your home.