go to greenBee shop

8 February 2014

Ever Been Tempted to Buy Plastic Toys?

Have you found yourself in a situations where you were asking yourself: “Isn't this wooden toy a bit too expensive?” And have you considered buying a colourful plastic toy instead of a wooden one, because it is cheaper? Or did you have to drag your protesting baby out of your friend’s baby's flashing activity centre and thought to yourself: “I guess there is just no good alternative to this flashing-lights, annoying music plastic thing.”

Thinking again about how much fun my daughter had in her friend’s multi-action plastic toy: I don’t blame her. If I were in her place, I would probably prefer to have a plastic toy myself, one that speaks, laughs, moves around…over the wooden toy. Big time entertainment for my baby and I can finally sit at the table and get some work done on the laptop.

However, the problem is that these types of toys create fun for your child, instead of your child creating the fun for himself or herself. They take away all the room for phantasy, and after playing with them, reading books may seem a bit of a boring job.

And who hasn't heard about the tons of plastic toys that were discovered to contain harmful chemicals, including Lead, Phthalates, and Bisphenol A (BPA). The science is not yet completely clear on side-effects of BPA, but there are many hints that the BPA may interfere with the endocrine system of glands and trigger a wide variety of disorders (chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage…).

BPA is not the only harmful chemical found in plastics and there are other chemicals like phthalates which are known to be hazardous to health. You may also find them under the name "plasticizers," chemicals used to make plastics more flexible or resilient.

We are not saying that all plastic toys are evil and all parents that buy them are uncaring parents. As with most things, there are positives and negatives. Basically, you can find high-quality - plastic products as well as wooden ones. And yes, we admit: a lot of plastic toys are beautiful and colourful, they can be bent or twisted, which can be more attractive to children. Plastic toy manufacturers are capable of producing wonderful designs, usually equipped with batteries, capable of making different noises and movements, while wooden toy makers have limited choices of design.

In recent years there have been much of improvements in the toy industry, also affecting plastic toys, as EU regulations are getting tighter. However, the problem is that many of above mentioned chemicals are still allowed in - low quantities and there isn’t any obligatory controlling body which will test all the toys. This puts a big question mark in terms of health issues.

Not even mention the impact of plastic toys on the environment. Plastic is piling up in ecosystems all over the world, not just oceans and lakes. Today, only about 5% of plastic gets recycled. Most of the rest - ends up in landfills and elsewhere where it may take up to 1,000 years to decompose.