Health Alert for Parents about PVC Toys for Young Children

February 25, 2007 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

Greenpeace has carried out an extensive assessment of soft PVC toys and associated children’s products, both in Australia and overseas. The results from this testing are both surprising and disturbing. Many of the toys tested were found to contain a range of chemical additives, including potentially hazardous chemicals called phthalates which are used to soften PVC toys and even the toxic heavy metals, lead and cadmium.

Of particular concern are soft PVC toys intended for young children under the age of three. Items such as teething rings were found to contain up to one third of their weight in phthalates. European government testing has demonstrated that these chemicals do leach from teethers at levels considered unsafe by the European Union.

In other words, when our children suck and chew on soft PVC toys, they are unknowingly receiving a dose of these potentially harmful substances at one of the most vulnerable periods in their development. This does not apply to pacifiers and feeding bottle nipples.

These additives have been shown, in independent laboratory studies on animals, to cause a range of toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage, reproductive abnormalities and cancerous effects.

The Australian Toy Industry Association has stated that there is no scientific proof these chemicals cause adverse health effects in children. Further, that they will not remove the suspect PVC products from sale until such time as harm is proven. Greenpeace is concerned that this proof would mean millions of young children suffering unnecessarily.

Countries such as Canada and Mexico have already issued a health advisory as a precautionary measure to enable parents and caregivers to make informed decisions about their children’s health.

If you support a precautionary approach to the health and safety of our children, Greenpeace suggest you write to the Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge (Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600 Australia) and your State Health Minister, raising concern at the unnecessary exposure of our children to potentially harmful chemicals, and requesting a recall of all PVC toys intended for use by young children.

For further information contact Greenpeace Australia on +612 9261 4666 or visit their website at

Check out for a range of non-toxic wooden teething rings as a safe alternative to plastic teethers.

Information Courtesy of Greenpeace Australia.


Entry filed under: Baby, Children, Family Health.

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