Why and how to avoid PVC toys?
We’ve all been there. We’re in the supermarket, in a rush but we’ve still got to buy that last minute gift for a child or baby. There in front of you is a row of cheap but brightly coloured PVC toys. You know it’s not the best option but you haven’t got time to hunt for something better.
In this, the first of a series of blogs about chemicals commonly found in toys, we have a quick look at the problems with PVC and why we think you should buy toys that are PVC free.
The story behind PVC.
PVC is the third-most widely produced plastic, with thousands of soft PVC toys sold across the UK each year contributing to an industry worth nearly £2bn. In terms of the damage caused to our eco-system PVC is hard to beat. It causes pollution at every phase in its life cycle from production, to use and disposal.
But there’s another, greater concern. PVC commonly contains “phthalates” to make it soft and pliable. There’s been extensive research and debate surrounding the potential health risks of exposure to phthalates but suffice it to say that there is a growing body of evidence that links exposure to phthalates with cancer, diabetes, infertility, asthma, obesity and behavioural / learning problems to name but a few. Whilst the evidence and full effects remain unclear at present, exposure can occur in a variety of ways and foetuses, babies and young children appear to be most vulnerable.
But surely PVC toys free of phthalates are safe?
No. Phthalate free toys may still contain other potentially harmful chemical additives.
Take The Toadstool steps to ensure PVC free children’s toys.
Some countries have already banned the use of PVC in baby toys and we at The Toadstool want to do everything we can to ensure children aren’t exposed to any unnecessary risks. So these are our 4 simple steps to help you ensure your toys are PVC free:
1. It may seem obvious but when you’re buying a toy, check the label to see if it’s labelled “PVC-free”. If it’s not clear then check for the symbols “#3”, “V”, “vinyl” or “PVC” often found next to the three-arrow “recycling” symbol. Whenever possible choose 100% PVC free toys.
2. If you’ve checked the label and it’s still not clear, don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer or supplier or check their website.
3. Check what type of plastic your existing toys are. When looking for PVC particular suspects can be found in the shape of plastic play food, animals, dolls, fake leather toys, plastic wipe clean books and bath toys.
4. Go for a safer option. There are an increasing number of safer toys available and finding them is simply not the hassle it used to be.
5. It’s impossible to avoid PVC in our homes altogether but by knowing which products are made of PVC, you can take steps to protect our children from mouthing these products. Products likely to contain PVC include wipe clean tablecloths, bibs, book bags, aprons, shower curtains, credit cards, packaging, mattress covers, outdoor furniture and raincoats.
So let’s be sensible and let’s be safe.
At The Toadstool we don’t profess to be scientists but we do care about our environment and we do care about what we give our children and ensuring we make toys as safe as they possibly can be. For us, that’s not rocket science and our website clearly shows all our PVC, phthalate and BPA free toy ranges such as Wonderworld and the fabulous Plus Plus building bricks.
So please have a look at our PVC free children’s toys which aren’t just safe but are beautiful toys too and make sure next time your choose a toy, it’s as safe as it possibly can be. And look out for our next couple of blogs where we’ll be looking at some of the concerns over phthalates and BPAs found in toys and why we should avoid them.
My parents perspective
As a parent I must admit it is easy to also like a plastic toy. And some nearly seem to be inevitable eg bath toys. Until we found the safe Haba Bath Toys, we also had PVC and non-safe duck squirters in the house. As soon as I discovered the Haba ones, the others went to the recycling bin. But we all know it is extremely hard in current society to avoid all plastics. Definitely with balancing cost, time and convenience during food shopping and cooking, I find it hard to be ‘green’. However I am aware and try to make conscious decisions and recycle where possible. But I myself plea guilty we do have plastics in the house and way to many recycling. What is your approach to plastic?