Toxins…they are everywhere. Many kids have a toy box full of plastic pieces covered in dried drool that have gone through a thorough taste test by your toddler. My daughter, like every other child, loves to put things in her mouth. After seeing the toy market saturated with plastic, I started to research what other safer options were available.
PVC, Phthalates and BPA in Toys
Many toys are made from various complex chemicals, so it can be confusing to understand one from another. I have spent a lot of time trying to understand the different terms used referring to plastics. Companies are excellent at marketing a toy free of one toxic chemical, just to find out they replaced it with something just as toxic. Several toys contain PVC, phthalates and BPA. Phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastic and can escape from the product, which can eventually make their way into our bodies.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states phthalates were banned in toys in 2009 however the ban on phthalates in toys does not apply to ALL phthalates, so some phthalates that are not included in the ban may still be found in vinyl toys. Also, while phthalates are banned in toys, they’re allowed in children’s school supplies such as backpacks and lunch boxes. Unfortunately, many companies market their products as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ and that is not the case. I was amazed at the toxic chemicals these manufactures are still putting in toys. Children are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals since their organs are still developing.
PVC (soft vinyl plastic) often contains lead and phthalates. PVC is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. A few of the examples of products that likely contain PVC are flexible plastic toys (rubber ducks, dolls, beach balls, infant bath books), bibs and play mats. Why are toy manufacturers still using this toxic chemical in products our children interact with daily?
I strongly believe the reason for my unexplained infertility resorts back to environmental factors and the toxins that surround us daily. We live in a world full of more toxins today than ever before. While it is not possible to keep my daughter in a bubble and free from any toxins, every chance I get to avoid a chemical will make her that much healthier. Parents should not have to be detectives when it comes to trying to figure out what chemicals are in their children’s toys.
Non-Toxic Toy Options
Fortunately there are companies that manufacture non-toxic toys and seem to have our children’s best interest in mind.
Bath toys make bath time an enjoyable part of our daughter’s night. Since many bath toys contain PVC, it was not easy to find many toy companies that made PVC free bath toys.
One of our favorite bath toy companies is Green Toys. Green Toys are made in the USA and are made from recycled milk jugs. Their products are BPA, Phthalate and PVC Free. I feel comfortable knowing their products are not leaching toxic chemicals into my daughter’s body. She enjoys playing with their submarine during bath time. A plus side to their products are they drain water easily. There is no way for mold to grow.
Another one of my daughter’s favorite toys is the Green Toys tea set. She enjoys playing with the cups, spoons and saucers while interacting with her dolls.
A great teething toy is their twist teether toy.
Another favorite bath toy company is Green Sprouts. My daughter enjoys playing with their stacking cups. We actually have two sets of these stacking cups, one for bath time and one for play time since she enjoys them so much.
Green Sprouts products are made from plant-based resin and are BPA- and PVC-free.
Their floating boats are a great bath toy and you don’t have to worry about mold with these toys either.
Plan Toys is a great company for non-toxic toys. This is probably one of my personal favorite wooden toy companies. They make all of their toys in a sustainable factory in Thailand. They use non-chemically treated wood, water-based dyes and non toxic glue. My daughter has the Plan Toys roller and enjoys using it as a rattle and rolling it across the floor. It is the perfect size for her little hand to pick up and learn how to roll an object.
Another Plan Toys product that is a lot of fun for kids is their dancing alligator. The alligator makes noise when pulled, with the body parts moving, and kids love to carry it around. The construction is very solid and the string to pull the alligator is thick and sturdy.
Grimm’s products are handmade in Germany. Their toys have no finish, varnish, lacquer or paint and they use a water based vegetable dye on their wood. My daughter has started playing with her Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker. We purchased this item a few months ago and she has recently shown more interest since she can handle the pieces better. The bright colors draw her to the Grimm’s toys over many other toys. Grimm’s products are on the more expensive side, however the quality of these non-toxic toys is outstanding.
My daughter loves to play with the Grimm’s Giant Marbles. She comes up with all kinds of creative ways to play with them. First she used them as musical instruments and now at 14 months she likes to roll them across the floor. They are the perfect size not to be a choking hazard.
Most of HABA products are made in Germany. HABA is one of the only companies that uses PEFC certified beechwood or maple, which means the wood comes from reforested trees. They also use non-toxic water-based lacquers, not paints. While I love HABA products, I recently learned they also own a factory in China as well. Be sure to check if a HABA product is made in China before you purchase it.
I spent time looking for quality blocks for my daughter and purchased the HABA Eeny, Meeny, Miny Zoo. These blocks are made in their Germany factory. These rounded blocks are a great toy for learning to pick up and carry, a great teether, and learning to stack. Even with all my daughters teething and banging the blocks together, I surprisingly have not found any chipped paint.
Janod is France’s leading wooden toy brand designing award-winning learning toys with strict quality and safety standards. They are quickly becoming more popular in the US for their unique wooden toy craftsmanship.
My daughter received the Janod baby forest ball hammer toy as a gift for her first birthday. While I knew of Janod’s toys, we did not have any prior to this hammer toy. This toy impressed me with how well made it is. I would rather my daughter play with a non-battery operated toy so she uses her imagination more. This toy allows her to use the mallet and physically hit the balls into the circles teaching her cause and effect. I plan to purchase more Janod toys going forward.
These are a few of the toy companies I try to buy toys from knowing their quality exceeds my expectations. I am still researching and reaching out to companies trying to learn more about their products. I think it is important to buy toys made from natural material that inspires the imagination and endure years of play.
Is there another toy company not listed above that you would love to share? Please comment below.
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