Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update: Our center's "Chemical-Free" mission

The staff and I have been spending every free moment (and there aren't too many 'free moments' at daycare!) sifting through our toys and equipment for BPA laden plastics with the dreaded #7 or #3 codes. On Monday when I first announced the news that we were going on this adventure several were a bit daunted by the task at hand, but they have all wholeheartedly come on board since reading this blog and doing their own research. Each time one of us discovers a #7 she excitely runs to show everyone - like we are on a treasure hunt! In the process Amber also found a plastic toy ring that was on the recall list!
Yesterday, while going through our kitchenware I was shocked to find that half of our dinner plates had code "7" on the bottom - these dishes have been heated and washed for at least 10 years - they are now in our growing "toxic pile". Becky added about a dozen vinyl baby books that contain phthalate, diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and/or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), several soft plastic toys and balls, and her rubber duckie that she was a bit hesitant to give up. Most upsetting was our discovery that the plastic containers of pre-made infant fruits & vegetables I purchased from our local grocery store (used when our kitchen menu is too hardy for the babies) is stored in #7 containers!
Mostly though, this week has been a period of learning about chemicals; searching the extensive online recall list (or Healthytoys.org's easy-to-use toy search), and furthering our "team" spirit, as we work together to ensure that the children in our care have as little exposure to toxins as possible.
We hope to have our 'toxic pile' completed by the end of next week, with photos to follow. Our biggest challenge will be finding non-toxic plastic toys to replace the ones we've eliminated, but we'll deal with that when the time comes. Quality verses quantity I always say!


lept said...

'Chemical' free or 'toxin' free?

Deborah A. Dixon said...

At this point my thoughts are that 'chemical free' and 'toxin free' might be one in the same, although I'm sure I need to investigate this further! Good point and one worth thinking about. Not all toxins come from chemicals and we could have much discussion on foods, medications, clothing, etc.
The dictionary defines "toxins" as: "A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins." I don't know that we can eliminate toxins from our bodies, however we should be able to create a safer enivironment by eliminating or lessening the "chemicals" (a substance produced by or used in a chemical process) that produce the toxins we expose our children to. Certainly only one small step in the grand scheme of things.

AMBER said...

New PVC products often have a strong odor; if it smells like a new shower curtain, it’s probably PVC.