Thursday, December 4, 2008
I very (and I mean very) rarely watch news, especially the 24hr networks. However, today I was in the mood for a little soapboxiness. I watched Lou Dobbs, and was horrified at a report that
1 out of every 3 toys on the shelves this Christmas contains toxic chemicals. Yes, that 1 out of every 3! Of course, there is a law going into effect saying that companies can no longer produce toys with some of these toxins (such as phthalates, cadmium, arsenic, and lead) as of Feb '09 (yep, just after we fill our households with presents for our loved ones). However, these toxic toys will be allowed to be sold if they were produced before that time. So, they will be on the shelves for a much longer time.
Phthalates have been linked to "premature delivery, reproductive defects, early onset of puberty, and lower sperm counts" (for men exposed during 0-3 years of life), according to a report, "Trouble in Toyland." Per Wikipedia, "Phthalates are used in a large variety of products, from [coatings of] pills to . . . gelling agents. . . adhesives and glues, agricultural adjuvants, building materials, personal care products, detergents and surfactants, plastic objects, paints, printing inks and coatings, pharmaceuticals, food products and textiles. . . and toys made of so-called "jelly rubber." The Phthalates Information Centre of Europe states that phthalates "are the most commonly used plasticisers in the world." They've been used for at least 50 years to make plastic soft and flexible.
Lead has been linked to lowered IQ, delayed mental and physical development, and death. Read my post from earlier this week to learn more about a very common lead danger.
Per the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) spokesperson, "In February 2009, toys with a phthalate content that exceeds 0.1 percent will be banned. Currently, the phthalate content of some toys is 40 percent. . ." She also stated, "In this year's report, the examples that we have were all made in China."
Per the Washington Post, " [China] produces about 80 percent of all toys sold in the United States."
I couldn't find a link on Mr. Dobb's website, but click here for this article in the Washington Post.
Here is the CNN story. It states that "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children's toys have less than 40 parts-per-million of lead." Beware of Hannah Montana jewelry, some of which didn't even max out at 660ppm "toxic level."