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Dangers of Plastic Baby Toys and How to Buy Earth Friendly

written by: michelleann•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 9/20/2010

Baby toys can be a great comfort in helping you entertain your child, but be aware before you go shopping of the dangers of plastic baby toys and how you can buy baby friendly plastic toys.

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    The Dangers of Plastic Baby Toys

    Being a parent can be one of the most stressful experiences of a lifetime. You are now completely responsible for the health and well being of someone so fragile and precious to you. You want to give them the world and provide them with things that will make them happy, such as toys. Unfortunately, as we've learned in recent years, not even your kid's toys are safe! With recent scares about lead in toys painted in China to Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, the dangers of plastic baby toys are out there. You just need to be aware of them and then they can be easily avoided.

    One of the biggest areas for worry comes from the toxins in plastics. There are a few major things to look out for here. BPA is a toxic compound that has been used in the plastic industry for over 50 years, but has also recently been discovered to be a dangerous substance. In animal studies, scientists found that BPA is an endocrine disrupter, acting like a hormone, and can damage your health.

    Another danger related to plastic toys comes from phthalates. Phthalates are used to soften plastic and can be found in toys such as rubber duckies, tethers, etc. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most common phthalate combinations that can be found in baby toys. It creates a soft and durable plastic. Many nations throughout the world have banned phthalates from being used. In 1999, the European Union banned them completely from toy production. While many manufacturers in the US have followed suit, there are some today who still use these dangerous chemicals in toy production.Be sure your child's toys are made from BPA and PVC free plastics. 

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    How to Choose Friendly Plastic Toys

    While some dangerous chemicals are still being used today in toy manufacturing, most manufacturers are following the trend set by the European Union and are no longer using BPA, PVCs, and other dangerous chemicals in their toy production. To ensure that a toy is free of these chemicals, look for clear labels that state "BPA Free" or "PVC Free". If it doesn't state that it is free of these chemicals, then do not purchase it. Be sure to avoid purchasing older toys that were made before regulations began. For example, there may be BPA in any toys made before 2008.

    Wooden toys can be a great earth friendly alternative. If you'd rather avoid artificial toys all together, look for ones that are paint free and plastic free. There are some great companies out there that make simple, earth friendly toys such as toys made completely from wood or rubber. For example, Little Sapling Toys makes wooden tethers, blocks, development toys, cars, etc that are entirely paint free and made organic wood. For soft toys, look for toys made from natural rubber and food based paints such as Sophie the Giraffe made by Vulli. Toys made from natural rubber and wood will be naturally free of BPA and phtalates.

    If you are aware of the dangers of plastic baby toys, you will be able to find friendly baby toys that will make your baby happy and keep them safe.