Monday, December 10, 2007

More on toy safety – and cosmetics too

If, as Santa Claus, you believe in making gift lists and checking them twice, here is a little tool for the paranoid parent in you. It’s the web site, where I have decided NOT to sink hours investigating every single plastic toy in our house but instead to focus on the few baby toys that I watch Owen mouthing on all day long.

This is because every time Owen has something plastic in his mouth, which is quite frequently now, I can’t help but think about lead for a fleeting moment. And then I do nothing about it. Partly because he’s mostly got infant toys inherited from Will and I don’t even know how I’d look them up at this point. Partly because I know paint in old homes (we happen to live in one) is a much bigger danger in terms of lead poisoning -- and I still haven’t decided how paranoid to be about plastic toys. But if I’m seeing plastic in the mouth and thinking lead, obviously I’m still a bit worried.

So with a few minutes work, you can buy yourself some peace of mind and check out products on your Christmas list. I’ve discovered that these stackable rings are free of toxins, for example. Down side is there’s so many products out there that there’s plenty that hasn’t been tested and inventoried on this site. To do a quick scan for potentially problematic toys in your house, skim through the toys listed by type and just note which toys received ratings other than low for overall toxicity (they’re highlighted yellow).

Right now I’m wondering whether I really need to discard Owen’s Gerber NUK pacifier just because a similar looking NUK pacifier gets a medium toxicity rating on the site because of chlorine or polyvinyl chloride in the packaging it came in, which we long ago discarded. (PVC in packaging seems to be one of the most common toxicity issues listed on the site.)

Want to worry some more? Go to this site and check out just how many of the toothpaste, baby shampoo, and other cosmetic products that you buy for your kids contain potentially problematic chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Safety Base. (They list plenty of safer alternatives.)

Then say a little prayer or do a little yoga, and forget about it all.

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