Making a List, Checking it Twice…for Toxic Toys

Noble McIntyre on December 16, 2014

toy safety Photo Source

You’re probably in the midst of holiday gift-buying frenzy, or maybe your gifts are neatly wrapped and ready to be given to excited recipients. If your gift-giving involves pint-sized loved ones, though, you might want to take a little extra caution as you fill the stockings, especially if you’re loading up on fun trinkets or cute, kitschy toys.

One environmental group recently shopped at Target, Wal-Mart, Party City, Children’s Place and even Macy’s using a fluorescence analyzer, which is a hand-held device that chemically analyzes each item. Not everything out there is harmful, but several are. The group found antimony (semi-metallic chemical), cadmium, cobalt and lead in items like kids’ jewelry, clothes, dolls, toy cars and trains, and other accessories.

In 2007, fears about toxic toys came to the forefront because there was a massive recall of toys made in China that were found to have been made with lead paint. And, while we’ve talked before about dangerous toys, the big danger regarding toxic substances in toys is that we can’t see them or necessarily know that they’re there.

Tips for avoiding toxic toys

  1. Check plastics to see if they are made from BPA, PET, PVC, polystyrene or Styrofoam. These substances have potentially harmful chemicals. An easy way tell what kind of plastic the item is to check the recycling code (usually in the triangular arrows on the bottom).
    • PET/PETE = 1
    • PVC = 3
    • Polystyrene = 6
    • BPA (contained in polycarbonate) = 7
  2. Try to purchase toys made from natural materials, including wood or cloth.
  3. Look for gifts made by local merchants.

Following the China scare, the Consumer Product Safety Commission pushed for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in order to regulate and enforce tools in order to address dangerous chemicals in children’s products. While steps are being taken to combat sellers’ having dangerous toys on their shelves, they do still exist. For more information about toxins in toys and other consumer goods, check out

Toys are required to meet certain safety standards, and usually they do. But, it’s a good idea to purchase toys manufactured by familiar brands, especially when making purchases online or through independent toy stores. Or, stick to the basics – wooden and fabric toys are great and are less likely to contain toxic chemicals.

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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