December 1997 Magazine
There is now a growing awareness that toys made from SOFT PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or vinyl contain toxic chemicals as well as lead and cadmium.
Chemicals from soft PVC (vinyl), if chewed upon, can leach into the mouth and when ingested can cause a variety of tumors, organ damage and abnormalities in children and animals.
In addition, a laboratory analysis of a number of common vinyl products demonstrated that they release toxic metal dust to their surfaces. This dust, contaminated with lead and cadmium can enter the body via licking, chewing, inhalation, and hand-to-mouth transfer. Lead isa well known toxin. Cadmium is a known carcinogen and kidney toxin.
A list of some of the toys which contain soft PVC and two press releases on the subject from Greenpeace are included below. A fuller list of PVC and safe non-PVC toys, as well as more detailed information can be found at the Greenpeace website: http://www.greenpeace.org/pvctoys
The safety of soft PVC is a very controversial issue. Following is a list of additional sources presenting both sides of the issue
|Some Toys Containing Soft PVC|
Animal Families 72901, 72902, 72903, 72904
Dolls with vinyl heads/arms,
Push/pull toys: Sunny Fish, Barky, Peter Pig,
The Woodsey's Store (vinyl tree); Dancing
Gerber Products Co.
Looney Tunes Lovables:
Clear and Soft Pacifiers 76155, 76164, 76159
Squeeze Toys: Darling Duckie 76330, Peek-A-
Safety 1st, Inc.
Baby Duckie 35304
Darling Animals Teether
Subsidiary of Hasbro
Farm Friends Teething Toys 389
Toy Story Mr Mike
Farm Friends Teething Toys 389
Toy Story Mr Mike
NEW YORK, Sept. 17 --- Greenpeace today released the results of a scientific study showing that toys made of soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl, contain toxic chemicals that can leach when chewed or sucked on by children.
The tests were conducted on 63 PVC toys from the United States and 16 other countries, which are designed to be put in young childrens' mouths, such as teething rings. All of the toys contained between 10 and 40 percent by weight of toxic chemical additives used to make the toys soft and flexible. These softeners belong to a group of chemicals called phthalates and are known to leak from PVC products during use, especially when pressure is applied, such as when a small child sucks or chews on a PVC teething ring.
The dominant chemical found in the tested toys is toxic when ingested by animals, with health effects ranging from tumors and liver and kidney damage to reproductive abnormalities. Several of the softeners have been identified as possessing the ability to disrupt the hormone system, a phenomenon known as endocrine disruption.
"The toy industry is unnecessarily putting small children at risk during one of the most vulnerable periods of their development," said Dr. David Santillo of Exeter University in the UK, and staff scientist for Greenpeace International. "When children suck and chew on soft PVC toys, it is similar to squeezing a sponge. Water comes out of the sponge, just as the hazardous softeners can come out of the toys."
Based on recent testing, the Danish and Dutch governments are now taking action to reduce the risk to children posed by the possible leaching of soft vinyl toys. The Italian company Chicco voluntarily withdrew three teething rings from the market in Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Greece and Argentina. Several major European toy retailers have removed soft PVC toys for small children from their shelves.
Greenpeace also released a "shopping list" of specific toys and non-PVC alternatives by brand name to guide parents and consumers in the 100 days before Christmas. "Until today, parents have not been informed about the potential hazards of PVC toys," said Lisa Finaldi, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner. "It is negligent to label vinyl children's toys `non-toxic' when they contain chemicals that require warning labels in laboratories. We encourage all families to play safe by avoiding PVC toys." Greenpeace is calling on toy manufacturers and retailers to eliminate PVC toys from their product lines.
Spurred by a 1996 Consumer Product Safety Commission warning on lead poisoning hazards from vinyl miniblinds, Greenpeace began an investigation of PVC products and their additives. Greenpeace first alerted the toy industry to the issue in August 1996 and met with its trade association, the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI). ICTI chose not to take any action, so Greenpeace decided to directly warn the public of the potential hazards of PVC toys.
PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic throughout its lifecycle, from its production to use to its inevitable disposal. PVC is made from chlorine, therefore it cannot be made or burned (incineration or accidental fires) without creating and releasing highly toxic compounds such as dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lisa Finaldi Greenpeace International in NY 908-586-4251
Kishi Animashaun US Newsdesk 202-319-2454 Web site: http://www.greenpeace.org/pvctoys
Charlie Cray Greenpeace US Toxics Campaign 847 W. Jackson Blvd., 7th floor Chicago, IL 60607 Ph: (312) 563-6060 x218 Fax: (312) 563-6099 Note new e-mail address: Charlie.Cray@dialb.greenpeace.org
Washington, D.C. 9 October 1997
A Greenpeace report (Greenpeace USA) released today revealed that hazardous levels of lead and cadmium are found in vinyl plastic children's products. The study was prompted by the discovery of hazardous lead levels in vinyl mini-blinds and associated lead poisoning of children in 1996.
Mainstream vinyl products were purchased for testing at national chain stores including Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us. Many items featured popular children's characters like Barbie, Mickey Mouse, and Tweety. Lead-containing vinyl children's products were found in Boston, Boulder (CO), Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Montreal, Canada. In every case in which it was tested, all of the lead-containing products also contained varying levels of cadmium, a known carcinogen and kidney toxin that is even more toxic than lead.
An independent laboratory analysis demonstrated that products released toxic metal dust to their surfaces. Lead- or cadmium-contaminated dust is especially hazardous since it can enter the body by licking, chewing, inhalation, and hand-to-mouth behavior.
The current report comes only weeks after Greenpeace released an analysis of soft vinyl toys, showing that toxic chemicals, called phthalates, represented 10-40% of the weight of the toys. Government studies have shown that these PVC softeners can leach out when toys are chewed by small children.
"Children should be able to play with Barbie, Tweety, and Mickey Mouse without being poisoned by vinyl," said Joseph Di Gangi, PhD, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner.
Greenpeace advises parents to return all vinyl products to stores and calls upon retailers to remove all vinyl items from the market.
Scientific reviewers of the Greenpeace report included: Howard Hu, Harvard School of Public Health; Philip Landrigan, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Janet Phoenix, National Safety Council.
**Video footage and still photos are available**
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kishi Animashaun or Deborah Rephan, Greenpeace Press Office (202) 319-2454/2492
Joseph Di Gangi, PhD, Greenpeace Toxics Expert (202) 462-1177
Winged Wisdom Note: The Greenpeace press releases have been reprinted with permission from Greenpeace International (Lisa Finaldi).
A pet bird ezine, pet bird e-zine, for pet parrots & exotic birds. parrot picture courtesy of Glasgow Enterprises
Articles on the care & breeding of pet birds, pet parrots & exotic birds Birds n Ways Home Winged Wisdom Home Table of Contents
Copyright © 1997 Birds n Ways All rights reserved.
Page design: Carol Highfill ---- Last update: November 30, 1997
parrot picture courtesy of Glasgow Enterprises