Sunday, December 23, 2007


I love you for sharing this August/07 letter from Govenor Spitzer with other's in our field, but by reading this parents and providers are going to think the toys on stores shelves are now safe because the Gov. started addressing this half a year ago. This is clearly NOT happening! The problem with the whole system stems right from the very beginning - the import stage! If these toys weren't being allowed in the country in the first place then they wouldn't be put on shelves. The real problem is the toy industry is big business and it's almost impossible to stop these corporations without a HUGE campaigne, overloading the public with an understanding of the chemicals that are in the toys and products they are buying for their children, and seriously advocating for safe toys on a daily basis.
I just added some interesting info to my forum. Did you know: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a level of 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. The federal recall standard used for lead paint is 600 ppm! Tests are being done on hundreds of items and the toxic level of lead in most of them is astounding - the Fisher Price Medical Kit we've been providing for our children for years now has 3,410 ppm of lead in some of its parts! That product is still on toy shelves, and I'm sure many children will be receiving it from Santa in a few days.

Lead isn't the only serious problem. What about arsenic? Did you see those lovely little shoes for infants with seriously toxic levels of arsenic on their soles? I just sent an article to our County newspaper about this week's Top 10 Worst Toys. These are NOT toys that have been recalled. They still sit on store shelves. Just last month I went to the Dollar Store in Canton and bought 2 "Baby Bead & Wire Toys" for the toddlers - the other day I received a few new recall notices, and this toy contained "excessive amounts of lead"! Honesty, we just can't keep up. Please continue to send any recall notices my way, but more importantly parents have to do their own homework. They can't trust that the toys on store shelves are safe simply because the Gov. said he would do something about it 6 months ago. Parents need to assume that any painted toy is toxic and before they purchase it they need to know that no law requires or regulates labels, and few products are labeled with chemical contents. They need to be pro-active and can go to to type in the product and see the tested results before purchasing a toxic toy!

Soft plastic and vinyl toys and products (including all plastic baby bottles except for Evenflo glass or colored, and GreenToGrow) contain potentially harmful chemicals such as DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and BBP (butylbenzyl phthalate), as well as DEHP (Di-Ethylhexyl Phthalate) and DINP (diisononyl phthalate) - which can cause liver and kidney disorders, damage to the reproductive tract, increased incidence of certain forms of cancer and diverse effects on development and metabolism. The effects of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride or vinyl) in plastics is already showing itself in Greenland.....just yesterday it was announced that scientists believe PVC exposure is responsible for the fact that infant boys are no longer being born to mothers in Greenland!! PVC is widely used in toys and other children's products and is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. The safest way to ensure our children are not being given toxic toys is to completely avoid ALL soft plastic and vinyl products until we have done our homework and know what the product contains! Some toys now contain "PVC free" labels - assume that if the soft toy doesn't have this label it is unhealthy for a child! It is clear that we can not trust the toy industry to protect our children, and it is going to take drastic and ongoing action on the part of our government (both local and federal) to make the necessary changes. We are probably looking at years before we can relax and feel safe about pulling a toy from a store's shelf.

What bothers me the most is that I recently read this information, "When purchased for laboratory use, DINP (chemical that softens toys) is labelled with a number of hazard phrases, including "harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed", "possible risk of irreversible effects" and "may cause cancer". In contrast, toys containing up to 40% by weight DINP in a readily leachable form are frequently labelled "non toxic".

Lead in toys is just the tip of the iceburg, but it's nice that Govenor Spitzer is on our side. Hopefully we will all continue to pester him about lead and all the other harmful chemicals in our children's hands and mouths. Parents and childcare providers need to do some heavy YELLING in order to get heard!!

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