Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PVC, Lead, Cadmium and other toxins in toys and children's items - UPDATED

Well, as I finished my blog, I left our office to go rip the tags off of those Target bags I just gave props to, I realized I missed one minor detail, the fact that they had MICROBAN in the sacks (which I had never seen before but I don't often buy lunch sacks either!!!). I was so focused on the BPA issue that I broke my own rule READ THE WHOLE LABEL!!! But, I was rushing out the door and figured I would stop at Sprouts for a better alternative. And, while I was out, I got a comment from a reader (THANKS NEEDLE.AND.DAMAGE.DONE!! They wrote "Terri, pvc-free is great, but your pictures show they have microban. Google autism triclosan and you'll see that's a suspect chemical too."). You are ABSOLUTELY right and I am ashamed that I was so quick to scan the tag and miss that completely!! Thanks goodness it wasn't too late and I did get the ones you see above from Sprouts, significantly higher cost but what's new, right?? So thank you Needle.and.damage.done!!! Microban and triclosan are being more commonly used, many foaming hand cleaners use triclosan and we avoid those. I don't think I have ever seen them on lunch sacks, but like I said, it has been a long time since I have needed to buy one. But beware, many of the licensed character ones that are so pupular with the kids have PVC in them. And be even more aware of the ones advertising that they are PVC-free, they could have even worse things in them!! Read below for the original article, minus the plug for the Target lunch sacks! Sorry for the sideways picture, for whatever reason it will not add the picture with the correct orientation!


Here is another disheartening article on toxins in children's toys. I want to also point out, as we get ready for school, choose wisely when picking a school lunchbox for your child. Your child's food will be stored in this for hours, often exposed to heat which will exacerbate any leaching of chemicals so pick ones without PVC. This goes for those plastic water bottles too. I have blogged on plastics before so go to the bottom of my blog and find the link for older posts if you need to read more. BPA is a toxin that is often in plastics. Make sure any water bottle you buy is BPA free!! More and more manufacturers are making products free of BPA but you have to look for them, if it doesn't say it, don't assume it doesn't have it! And then do not microwave or or put in the dishwasher your plastics. The high heat starts the leaching process. I would hand wash just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately we cannot assume that government agencies are keeping our children safe from toxins even in toys. We as parents need to educate ourselves on the things that are coming in contact with our children. If you have a child with Autism, this is even more important due to the faulty detox pathways that are often present with the disorder.
KALAMAZOO -- A lion sitting on a raft -- both pieces made of plastic -- failed. A Doodle Pro, a small, magnetic drawing toy made by Fisher-Price, also failed. "It's a cool toy, if it's not toxic," said Tina Tabulog, holding a small wooden block with painted balls attached to it. Some of the balls, as well as the lion and the Doodle Pro, tested positive for lead. The amount was below the legal level but was high enough to concern Tabulog. She decided to get rid of them. Tabulog had a bag of toys with her at Bronson Park on Monday and wanted them tested for harmful substances. Toy testing, a press conference and a giant, inflatable duck were part of a statewide blitz by the Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health to raise awareness of and support for the Children's Safe Product Act. The act would require toy manufacturers who have products on shelves in Michigan to notify the state government of any chemicals present in the toys that are known to be hazardous to children, said Mike Shriberg, policy director for the Ecology Center and the coalition. The state would then make that information accessible through the Michigan Department of Community Health. The chemicals Shriberg is concerned about include lead, arsenic, bromine, cadmium and mercury. Shriberg said the coalition has tested thousands of toys and found that a third have elevated levels of harmful chemicals. "It's 100 percent preventable. There's no reason to have lead," Shriberg said as he tested a Barbie doll. The Barbie showed traces of chromium, and Tabulog gave it to Shriberg to keep an as example. Her two children, Morgan Smith, 4; and Lukas Smith, 16 months, already have elevated levels of lead in their bodies. Tabulog said she is concerned that the substance already has caused health problems. The act, a series of seven bills, passed the state House of Representatives 64-44 in May and currently sits in state Senate's Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom George, R-Texas Township. George, a physician, said he does not favor the bills as written and that the issue is not high on the Senate's health-policy list. He said of the chemicals identified in the bills, lead presents the greatest concern. Last year the state adopted the federal government's standards for lead and strengthened its testing and abatement programs, George said. A federal law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, bans the sale of products that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead that are intended for children 12 and younger. George said there are other issues before the committee that are more pressing, and he expressed concern that the bills would set standards and procedures different from those in other states. He said manufacturing standards are usually handled at the federal level. Rep. Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo, who announced on Monday he would seek the 20th District Senate seat now held by George in 2010, voted for the bills. He spoke in favor of the act at Monday's Bronson Park event. "I think it is just awful that someone would produce and market something that would cause damage to our most precious things," Jones said. Bill Kirk, communications director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, said the act, if passed, would not ban any substances or require companies to label their products differently. The bills, he said, would allow companies to conduct business as usual while equipping parents with information on neurotoxins and cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals present in toys. Washington, Minnesota, Maine and California already have similar, more strict, laws on their books, he said. Contact Aaron Aupperlee at or (269) 388-8576.

1 comment:

Kristy Treible said...

Hi Terri I have been playing catching up, but I am very interested in the BIOMED Group. Can you please let me know when it will take place? Kristy