I have always had a fondness for beautiful, natural, unique, toys made of natural materials. I try to buy quality play things for my children, but I can't control everything that might come into the home via well meaning grandparents or birthday party guests. My preschooler, for a short time, was a fan of popular characters such as Diego or Thomas the Tank Engine. Toys that represent popular characters are pretty much never made of natural materials. Kids like what they like, don't they?
We did have a train in our collection that was subject to the Thomas recall in Spring 2007. Thankfully I had only just bought the train in anticipation of his birthday and had not yet given it to him. But it made me wonder; what OTHER toys might we have that are not completely safe? Were there recalls that I didn't know about?
HealthyToys.org is a non-profit organization that has tested a wide variety of toys to check for harmful chemicals.
A quote from the Healthy Toys website reads:
The U.S. government doesn't require full testing of chemicals before they are added to most consumer products, including children's toys. And once they are on the market, the government almost never restricts their use, even in the face of new scientific evidence suggesting a health threat. Because children can be exposed to chemicals from many sources, and because the effects of some chemicals are cumulative, it is important to look at the whole picture concerning chemicals and children's health. The law that's supposed to do this, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is outdated, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 2005, the GAO found:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has limited data on existing chemicals including toxicity and exposure information.
- EPA lacks data to ensure that potential health and environmental risks of new chemicals are identified.
- Chemical companies are not required to develop and submit toxicity information to EPA unless EPA issues a rule.
- EPA has used its authority to require testing for fewer than 200 of the 62,000 chemicals in commerce since 1979.
- For "new" chemicals, EPA estimates that...only about 15 percent include health or safety test data.
- For existing chemicals, only 5 chemical groups out of 62,000 have been restricted by EPA in 29 years
Also check out SafeMama.com for information about the safety of all kinds of children's products.