Holiday toy safety

December 12, 2008 10:59:11 AM PST
Worry-free tips to buying affordable, safe toys this holiday season!

There are 3 billion toys sold every year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 43 million toys were recalled in 2007, and even more in 2008. Here are some key things parents want to look for when they are purchasing their holiday toys:

Words to look for:

  • Non-Toxic
  • BPA Free,
  • Phthalates free
  • Lead Paint Free

    Also, we would encourage you to ask a sales assistant or check out the products website to make sure what you're buying is safe.

    More About the Main Harmful Chemicals found in Toys:

    1. BPA Free (BisPhenol A ):
    What it is: It is the key monomer in production, which is found in "hard plastic."
    It has been known to leach from plastic lining and can either enter through your body via ingestion, skin absorption or through the air. According to the environmental working group, on September 3, 2008, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) raised concerns that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen and plastics chemical, during pregnancy and childhood could impact the developing breast and prostate and affect brain development and behavior in American children.

    BPA's are found in:
    * Baby and water bottles
    * Sports equipment
    * Medical and dental devices
    * Dental composite (white) fillings and sealants
    * Lenses
    * Household electronics
    * Tupperware

    What it can cause:
    * Cause hormonal damage
    * Affect brain development
    * Behavioral problems
    * Chronic Toxicity

    Studies Show:
    * Studies form the CDC found BPA in the urine of 93% of adults and kids have some form of BPA

    2. Phthalates:
    What is it: Found in "Soft Plastics"
    Phthalates, called "plasticizers," are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics more flexible or resilient and also as solvents.

    Phthalates are found in:
    -Toys
    -Food packaging
    -Raincoats
    -Shower curtains
    -Detergents
    -Nail Polish
    -Shampoo

    What it can cause:
    * Reduced sperm count
    * Testicular atrophy
    * Structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems
    * Liver cancer

    3. Lead-Paint
    What is it: Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal, also considered to be one of the heavy metals. Lead has a bluish-white color when freshly cut, but tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed to air. It has a shiny chrome-silver luster when melted into a liquid.

    Found in:
    * Toys (Paint)
    * PVC vinyl products
    * House Paint
    * Batteries

    What it can cause:
    The insidious symptoms of slow lead poisoning
    * Impaired intellect
    * Memory loss
    * Mood swings
    * Infertility
    * Cardiovascular
    * Skeletal
    * Kidney and renal problems
    * Possibly cancer

    We have some great options that are affordable and safe right here in the Bay Area. Here are some unique gift ideas:

    TOYS:

    1. Plan Toys:
    -These toys are so fun, educational and kind of retro at the same time.
    - Plan Toys are made from safe, non-toxic rubber wood
    -They are built to last so your child can play with them for years to come.
    -They range in price from $4.99-$34.99 and are available at Elephant Pharmacy.

    Website: www.elephantpharm.com
    Phone: 510-549-9200

    2. Folkmanis Finger Puppets:
    -Locally made for over 31 years!
    -These cute, soft hand puppets encourage a healthy childhood, encouraging play and discovery to develop the skills necessary in life.
    -Safe, soft and children of all ages will love them.
    - They range in price from $3.99-$8.99 and are available at Puppets on The Pier

    Puppets on The Pier: 800-443-4463
    Made locally (Emeryville) www.folkmanis.com

    3. Green Science Tin Can Robot Kit:
    -How many recycled cans do we have lying around the house?
    -This Tin Can Robot Kit is for the older kids that will let your child use their imagination and use up those cans!
    -The kit comes with legs, hands, eyes, caps, nuts and bolts and all other sorts of things to turn a plain cans into wobbly, googly-eyed walking robots.
    -The kit is $14.99 and available at Elephant Pharmacy.

    Website: www.elephantpharm.com

    4. Karito Kids Travel Dolls:
    -These are called Karito Kids Travel Dolls and they are great because they not only make a gift, but they also help to teach your kids about world diversity and at the same time teach them to help give back.
    -For every doll sale, the Karito Kids Doll company donates a portion of each sale to your favorite kids' charities.
    - Parents can log onto their website to learn more about the charities and they also have fun dress-up games and things like that for your child on their site.
    -The dolls are $19.99 and are available on their website.

    Website: www.karitokids.com

    5. Anamalz:
    -These are unique and quirky wooden animals that have life-like characteristics in an artistic and moveable form.
    -They are all made from organic maple, and each Anamalz is individually branded by the natural grain of the wood and the touch of a craftsman.
    -They also have cute hand-painted faces that are all certified safe paint.
    - They are $6.99 and are available at Giggle Toy Shop.

    Giggle Toy Shop: 415-440-9034

    6. Cardboard Doll House:
    -This is a simple yet very creative product that has won lots of awards like Creative Child Magazine's Top Toy of the Year Award this year.
    -It's a Cardboard Doll House made from 100% post consumer materials.
    -Your child can color it, paint it and decorate it with stickers.
    -It really encourages your child to use their imagination.
    - It's $19.99 and is available at Elephant Pharmacy

    Website: www.elephantpharm.com
    Phone: 510-549-9200

    About Lauren Schiller:
    As a mother of 2 children, Lauren understands how important it is to find reliable and safe toys. With 17 years of experience working with the world's biggest names in advertising, Lauren has helped launch - and grow - some of the best brands in the business. After joining the Elephant Pharm team in 2006, Lauren is committed to getting the word-out about affordable and safe toy options for parents and their families.

    Millions of toys get recalled every year due to the harmful chemicals and toxins that are found in them. This year especially, parents want to feel confident about their purchases and feel good about the gifts they are giving to their children. There are some really great, fun, affordable holiday toy options for parents that are locally available.


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