Sometimes we need a gentle kick in the tushie to remind us of why we take the stance that we do when it comes to buying children products. I wrote a post 2 weeks ago about When Being Eco is Hard. Basically E went to her friend's b-day party who got some My Little Pony's and E said that is what she was going to ask Santa to get her for Christmas. Seeing her little face light up, I let my guard down and thought maybe, one pony would be ok? I thought about it for a few hours then decided to write Hasbro to find out more info.
During my week long wait for a reply, I started researching blogs and websites like Healthy Toys to see if they had any info. Most bloggers said Hasbro didn't respond and Healthy Toys said My Little Pony's were a moderate hazard in 2007-2009 since they tested positive for chlorine. But I was hoping that Hasbro changed their plastic formulation- because face it- PVC toys are so 2008. Or so I thought....
This is from Hasbro: "We believe based on scientific evidence that PVC in toys presents no health risk to children. Hasbro's toys are designed to be compliant with all current laws around the world, including those relating to PVC. For more information on PVC, please visit www.cpsc.gov and to www.toy-tia.org. Please be advised My Little Pony figures do contain PVC."
I find that very interesting since a week before I wrote Hasbro the American Public Health Association passed a resolution urging facilities such as hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to reduce the amount of PVC used. "Despite its ubiquity in the marketplace, the public remains largely unaware of the public health and environmental risks posed by PVC at all stages of its lifecycle (from production to disposal). PVC used in consumer products is not a pure material. Chemicals are added, that can make up as much as 40 to 60% of a product, to change its properties to meet different consumer needs. But these additives have toxic characteristics and moreover are unintentionally released in indoor settings posing avoidable risks to infants, children and other vulnerable populations. In addition, school-age children behave in ways that will increase their exposure to PVC additives in products, including putting plastic products in their mouths and spending a lot of time on the floor and ground, where they can ingest chemical residues from toys, containers, dirt and dust on a regular basis," said the APHA Resolution. The APHA is the oldest organization of health professionals working to improve overall health since 1872.
Some of the PVC additives listed on the APHA site are lead, cadmium, organotins, plasticizers like phthalates and fillers. Though phthalates have been banned from infant products and children (12 yrs and younger) toys since 2009, they are still in many PVC products. PVC also releases dioxins- an unwanted bi-product which is toxic- during production, disposal, and possibly when heated. Vinyl chloride, used to make PVC, is named a carcinogen by the EPA. It sounds like all of the above are health risks that I wouldn't want to chance when it comes to my kiddo.
When I first asked Hasbro what type of plastic they used and could it be recycled they said that information wasn't readily available and they'd have to dig around. That seemed very odd to me. Why wouldn't you know what your toys are made out of? If you talk to a personal care company they can list all of the ingredients very easily- well unless you are asking about fragrances. But shouldn't it be that way with toys and any other children's products? I want the right to know what I'm buying and letting my child play with. (Be sure to check The Soft Landing's Seal of Approval webpage for products tested and approved!)
The Hasbro representative wasn't able to give me a recycle code but told me to ask my recycling center if they'd accept the pony's. Then I responded, well if you don't give me a code, how I can ask if they accept that type of plastic? That's when I go the reply, "I am sorry we are unable to assist you with recycle codes as that are not available for our My Little Pony products." Great, so helpful!
So not only are My Little Pony's made with PVC, a potentially harmful plastic for your child, they are non-recyclable, made with the highest single usage of chlorine gas in the world, and they also emit dioxins in production, disposal, and possibly when heated- like in a warm bath. Extremely horrible for the environment on so many levels!!
When holiday shopping this year, remember to avoid PVC plastic toys. If you can, avoid ALL plastic toys (Green Toys is ok in my book) and purchase wooden toys from sustainable companies.
I broke the news to E that she wouldn't be able to get any My Little Pony's for Christmas and she was ok with it. Her response, "can I get a My Little Pony coloring book instead?" See, saying no isn't all that hard!
What toys are you buying this year?