2007 has been the year of toy insecurity. Few parents of young kids escaped the unpleasant task of removing a favorite toy--from Aqua Dots to Thomas the Tank Engine--that had been recalled.
And all parents were left with a feeling of unease, that globalization and lax US consumer standards have left us vulnerable to toxic chemicals being routinely used to make our toys (and cosmetics, food, electronics...but that's a larger topic for another day).
I predict that the big story next year will be the growing realization that European and Japanese standards for chemicals used in plastic toys are much more stringent than those in the USA, and that as a result, toys that are banned elsewhere are getting dumped into the US market.
But right now, Christmas is rapidly approaching, and families are busily shopping for gifts, and will unwrap gifts given by others over the next week. What's a parent to do? The Web site HealthyToys.org gives parents way to weed out toxic toys, by searching the HealthyToys database that provides a detailed breakdown of the substances found in over 1,200 toys they tested for lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and PVC plastic. The results are alarming: of the 10 toys with the most lead, two of them are tea sets, with cups and teapots that are inevitably going to be filled with water that little kids will drink. Some plastic bath toys test high for lead and Chlorine/PVC, and these toys tend to go into toddlers' mouths as well.… Read more