Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Avoid Toxic Toys

What's in your children's toys? If you think that the days of lead paints and toxic substances being used in toys is over, think again. There's a plethora of toy recalls happening on a regular basis from many "made in China" toys. The Daily Green has a complete list of recalled toys for their excessive lead paint and hazardous materials. Some of the latest culprits aren't obscure toys, either, they're big name toys from Disney, toy horses, princess toys from Wal-Mart, and cloth books from Big Rex and Friends (I bet that last one fooled a lot of people into thinking they were buying a more eco friendly choice because it was cloth!).

So what should we do to avoid toxic toys?

First, we'll need to monitor the toxic toys list to see what news toys arrive. Second, buying non toxic toys that clearly state they are made with non toxic materials can help you avoid those chemicals. Besides buying non toxic, you may also want to opt for organic, especially when you have an infant. Infants have less room in their bodies for the chemicals to distribute, so it is imperative to buy organic for them (especially items that are close to them all the time, like their crib mattress. Here is a list of some recommended organic baby toys to choose from. For more green choices for your having a green baby, try the Raising Baby Green Guide, or these tips for greening your baby nursery.

What to look for in non toxic toys

If a toys says that it is non toxic, it probably is, but you can never be too sure. To be completely sure, see that the toy is painted with all natural paint, and if the item is cotton, try searching for certified organic cotton. Yes, these toys will cost more, but it's better to sacrifice some quantity for high quality. When buying toys, it can be hard to convince yourself to buy organic when the non organic versions are often half the price. If this is an issue for you, buy the toys you know your child or baby will be around the most in organic or all natural forms. Also, any toy that they are going to wear should be BPA free and non toxic. This includes toy jewelry, plastic crowns, all that stuff that they might be wearing for hours on end. If your kids are begging you for some knick knack princess toys, encourage them to make their own toys using construction paper and stuff around the house. Not only is it cheaper, but it's a more eco friendly option, and you can monitor what materials they're using (as opposed to the questionable ingredients in some store bought toys).

The author of this blog also sells organic cleaning products, natural skin care, and reusables available at thegreenerearth.com.

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