Toxic Toys – No Child’s Play

Photo: Clement Lebeaume

Toys once stimulated a child’s education, creativity, laughter and fun and left the legacy of a long and healthy life. Today, they may well leave toxins in young bodies and minds.

Which child doesn’t love toys? Or, for that matter, which adult who’s a child at heart?

Those beautiful swirling colours of a doll’s dress…the bright lights and sounds of a remote-controlled race car…toys just sitting on a shelf, waiting to be bought…these are what light up every child’s face! Toys encourage education, foster imaginative play, inspire creativity and bring laughter and fun.

Besides, could any sane adult dream of deliberately hurting children? Yet many toys today are loaded with toxic chemicals and, by placing them in a child’s hands, that’s precisely what’s being done. The toys look and cost the same as those that parents bought a couple of generations ago. But now, the same objects have dangerous toxins introduced into them by manufacturers.

A recent study conducted by the Ecology Center, Michigan-based consumer safety organisation, showed that one of every three toys tested in a study of 1,500 popular children’s toys contained potentially harmful levels of cadmium, arsenic, mercury and other dangerous chemicals. Some products even contained multiple hazards: a Hot Wheels set contained mercury and cobalt and a girl’s hair clip contained mercury, arsenic and cobalt.

Products containing contaminants that we come into close contact with are nothing new. In 2010, McDonald’s recalled 12 million drinking glasses because the paint on them contained cadmium. Firecrackers and cleaning agents, too, are hazardous.

However, the dangers are magnified when toxic ingredients reside in toys. Children are especially susceptible because they often place these objects in their mouths, unwittingly disrupting their own lives and futures.

So buy things made from natural materials, e.g. toys made of solid wood, organic cotton, hemp or wool, that have either unfinished surfaces or non-toxic finishes. Avoid play with gaudy, ‘hyper-animated’ objects, such as battery-powered toys. Instead let your child explore the life, liveliness and colour that all Nature teems with.





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