Dangerous pollutants in children's toys

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The majority of the tested children's toys are contaminated with harmful substances. As the foundation reports, more than 80 percent of the toys tested were contaminated with pollutants.

Parents usually pay close attention to where the children's toys come from. Many assume that toys and children's products from Asian countries in particular are contaminated. However, as a study by the Stiftung Warentest found, products from German brand manufacturers are also affected. During the investigation, the Stiftung Warentest tested 50 toys.

The result suggests bad things: Over 80 percent of the toys were contaminated with substances that are hazardous to health. Two thirds of the products were even heavily to very heavily contaminated with the polluting substances. In five of the children's toys examined, even the individual parts came off. There is a great danger here, especially for small children, who then swallow the individual parts and, under certain circumstances, poison themselves. Small children in particular should be given special protection. Your now young organism is more sensitive to pollutants than that of an adult. Nevertheless, 42 of the 50 toys are loaded, two thirds are even strong or very strong - regardless of whether Teddy von Steiff, Princess von Fisher Price, Brio-Eisenbahn or Pittiplatsch as the foundation reports today.

Country of origin didn't matter: all toys were affected equally
Really frightening is the tester's note that the country of manufacture of the children's products is irrelevant in terms of quality and that there is little or no reliance on official seals of approval. As the Stiftung Warentest further announced, children's toy manufacturers such as Brio, Eichhorn, Fisher Price, Sigikid or Steiff would not have passed the pollutant test.

Wooden toys are just as stressed as plastic goods
Many parents have assumed that plastic toys in particular are contaminated with buying wooden toys for their children. However, it is not the plastic helicopters or plastic males that are heavily contaminated, but rather the wooden toys: none of the 15 wooden toys was even nearly free of pollutants. The testers found flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nickel in the Brio railway alone. The kik and Selecta puzzles contained a lot of formaldehyde. It can evaporate from the plywood glue and possibly cause cancer. Contrary to expectations, plastic toys do best: 6 of the 10 plastic toys are not loaded. Otherwise only the Hello Kitty figure and Curly Girly from sigikid could do that.

What pollutants were found in children's toys?
The inspectors found plasticizers, formaldehyde, heavy metals, organotin compounds and so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the toys. Some substances are suspected of causing cancer and allergies. Parents should definitely be concerned about the results, as Hubert Primus of the Stiftung Warentest said. The results are terrifying and should worry parents.

Statutory regulations in the test procedures too imprecise
But how can it happen that officially tested toys still contain harmful substances? This is mainly due to the fact that not all substances are regulated by law. According to the testers, the current legal regulations are often too imprecise, because they do not include the age for which the toy is offered. For this reason, the foundation has rated the ingredients much more stringently in many cases. This also applies to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH for short. Since the effects and health effects of many PAH substances are still unknown, the stiff should be limited as far as possible.

The toy directive urgently needs to be adjusted
However, the toy directive wants to go a different way. From 2013, it plans to allow up to 1,000 milligrams of PAH per kilogram of toys, and 100 milligrams for the carcinogenic benzopyrene. But the foundation warns of such overly high limits. Legislators should quickly make improvements here. Because the not yet fully developed and still very fragile organism of children could be harmful to health.

What can parents do?
Because the legal provisions do not seem to be sufficient, from the point of view of naturopathy, parents should primarily rely on toys that carry an organic seal. Such toys can be bought in special organic shops and in some large toy markets. The disadvantage of these toys is the sometimes very high retail price. Nature itself offers another alternative. For example, acorns, horse mackerel, leaves and chestnuts can be used to make great, self-made toys with the child. The positive thing about it: The homemade toys let creativity run free and are not contaminated with chemical pollutants. (sb, Oct 21, 2010)

Also read:
Essential oils can be dangerous for children
Parents give children too much medication
Parents: Diseases do not hide from children
Many children go to school without breakfast
Children's clothing often contains pollutants

Image: sabine koriath / pixelio.de

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