Because childrens’ body masses are so small, and their skin is so absorptive, they are at the highest risk of toxic poisoning. One of the most dangerous sources of these toxins is also the most seemingly harmless: their toys, which often contain banned and harmful substances that can seriously threaten their health. Soft plastic toys, or any plastic containing PVC, are the worst ones for children, since they leach the most harmful chemicals, such as lead and pthalates. However, it is best to avoid plastic toys of any kind considering their environmental impact from start (plastic is made from nonrenewable petroleum products) to finish (when they end up in landfills and oceans).
The safest playthings are made of solid wood (not pressed, which contains formaldehyde) or organic fibers. Look for organic cotton, hemp and wool, made without the pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are dangerous for kids to chew on and major water pollutants. If you want to finish a wooden toy, use a natural oil such as nut oil or beeswax. Mineral oil, linseed oil, and any plant-based oil with a strong smell are not recommended on the toys of children under age three.
Did you know that according to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, marine trash, mainly plastic, is killing more than a
million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year?
Plastic in the environment is a big problem because it does not biodegrade and it leaches toxic chemicals. Try to
buy and use less plastic to keep it out of the water and landfills.
Did you know that the manufacture and incineration of PVC result in highly toxic dioxins and furans?
Dioxins and furans are some of the most potent carcinogens known to man. The EPA says that there is no “safe”
exposure level to dioxins. You can stop supporting the release of these chemicals by not buying plastics made with PVC.
1.Greene, Alan. Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care, p. 119. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.