Toy care

As a result of concern over phthalates in childrens’ toys these chemicals are being phased out by most toy manufacturers.
However, concerned parents might wish to check out any suspect Christmas gifts in consultation with the suggestions of the US Public Interest Research Group (

• Avoid soft toys made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. Many of these contain phthalates and may not be labelled.
• Avoid play cosmetics with
xylene or toluene or phthalates.
• Avoid cheap metal play jewelry,
key chains, and similar products. Many of these products contain lead.
• Avoid toys with small parts that can pose a choking hazard to young children. Any toys or parts of toys that fit inside a toilet paper tube are too small for children aged three and under.

Ed. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften vinyl and other plastics; there is some evidence they can have health effects including early puberty, reproductive defects and lower sperm counts in boys.

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First Published January 2009

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