Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Can we do without plastic toys?

Carson's toys have been the greatest challenge.  Despite trying to be careful, the majority of his toys are plastic and from China.   Plus he doesn't just have a few.  He has A LOT of toys.  The other day we were up at one of my favorite stores located on a farm with lots of cozy and beautiful nick knacks.   This store has a small section for children.  Carson was immediately drawn to that area and picked out a Noah's ark set that was made of fabric.  Carson loved it and it was really cute, plus not plastic so I figured we could splurge.  As we were driving home I read the tags on one of the animals, the outside was polyester, no surprise there, the inside was made of PVC beads.  WHAT!?  I was shocked.  Although I'm not sure why.

PVC contains high levels of lead and a lot of other nasty stuff as well.  PVC, lead paint, phtlalates, and BPA, a substantial hormone disruptor make up the majority of plastic toys available.  Plastic toys are cheap, easy to obtain (easy for kids to spot), and a favorite it seems by Grandmas.  Some of Carson's favorite toys are plastic, like his fire truck and play kitchen.   Plus what do you do when your little girl grows up and wants a Barbie.

The chemicals in toys seem to be getting worse and kids are actually dealing with lead poisoning.  The majority of kids' plastic toys have been found to exceed the legal lead limit, yet unless it is extremely high, the toy company is not required to do a recall.  I also recently read that even if something is labeled BPA free does not mean it is safe.  The chemical BPA is then replaced with another chemical that is just as highly toxic. Nice marketing right!

So what do we do?  It seems almost impossible to completely restrict plastic.  The whole toy department is filled with them.  Plus gifts from others, especially family.  Do you put on party invitations, no plastic please?  Does this all seem too over the top?  Sometimes I rationalize that I played with plastic toys and I'm fine, but am I really?  I have several health issues caused by hormone disruption.  Maybe toys played a part, maybe not.

It makes me want to throw out all of Carson's toys and start anew.  He might just be better off too.  Less toys means more creativity.  Growing up my mom had a small toy box for me.  I was only allowed to own however many toys would fit in the box.  I despised her growing up for this but now as an adult I really appreciate what she did.  I learned to be creative, think outside the box, and go outside to play.  A lot of those qualities are lacking in children growing up presently.

Thankfully there is a brand gaining popularity which is Green Toys.  Their toys are manufactured in the USA and contain no traceable amounts of PVC, BPA, or phthalates.  They are a good alternative to the ever so popular toxic plastic.

Do you think you could do a toy overhaul?  Is it something you find important?

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