Pollutants and heavy metals in children's toys

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Children's toys as an accompaniment to children's magazines contain harmful substances

Children love the small, colorful toys that can be found in children's magazines such as "Princess Lillifee", "Filly Extra" or "The Princess and the Unicorn". However, an investigation commissioned by the Greens' parliamentary group found that six out of eight some of these toys are heavily contaminated with pollutants such as cadmium, lead or plasticizers.

Health damage caused by lead, cadmium and plasticizers in children's toys According to the laboratory test, a total of four toys contained cadmium residues, including the glitter fan of a "Princess Lillifee" booklet, a baby filly mermaid figure from the "Filly Extra" and one Tomahawk from the July issue of the "Yakari" booklet. Cadmium is a heavy metal that is an inevitable by-product of zinc, lead and copper extraction and is also contained in fertilizers and pesticides. Cadmium can be a trace element for years Accumulate in the human body and cause chronic poisoning, which can cause severe kidney damage and bone damage by causing calcium to mobilize.

Lead was found in some toys, such as cadmium in the tomahawk (four milligrams of lead per kilogram) from the "Yakari" booklet. Significantly more lead was found in a police badge from the children's magazine "Dino-Action". According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, there is no effect threshold for lead, i.e. no amount that can be regarded as harmless. According to a presentation by Dr., lead can damage the development of the nervous system in children by triggering negative effects in relation to “behavior, attention, intelligence or hearing threshold shifting”. Heike Itter from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. In addition, lead is suspected of being carcinogenic to humans, causing irreversible nerve damage in children and leading to brain function disorders. The toy badge also contained so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are carcinogenic. They are also suspected of influencing reproductive ability.

Children's toys must be manufactured without harmful substances Another worrying result of the investigation is a high content of plasticizers in the toys. Bärbel Höhn, Member of the Greens, was particularly alarmed and horrified by the yellow plastic unicorn figure from the children's booklet "The Princess and the Unicorn". The figure consists of 8.7 percent of the harmful plasticizer diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). The politician explains on her website that this corresponds to the 80-fold amount that is permitted according to the EU limit value of 0.1 percent under REACH (EG 1907/2006). “As a Member of the Parliament, I immediately dealt with the finding the consumer senator of the State of Berlin, in which the product was purchased, asked to take the necessary measures to remove the health-endangering toy from the market, "Höhn said." Against the publisher, who published the newspaper with the non-marketable I have filed a criminal complaint with toys in Germany. "

Höhn sees the so-called “cocktail effect” of the pollutants as particularly problematic: “Plasticizers are not only found in many toys, but also in many cosmetic products such as sun milk that are already used by children. Such cocktail effects are not taken into account when determining the limit values, which should sometimes determine the amount in which certain substances hazardous to health may still be ingested. ”

After all, two of the eight children's toys examined were free of harmful substances. According to the politician, this shows that it is possible to produce products without harmful substances and to add them to the booklets, even under high cost pressure, which the toys are subject to as an "extra" in children's magazines. (ag)

Image: Rike / pixelio.de

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