Having first hand experience with hundreds of toys throughout the years has given me a well-rounded opinion on which toys are truly safe to play with, what toys last and which ones offer opportunity for play that is engaging. The toys that end up falling under all three criteria are almost never plastic.
There is something about the bright gimmicky toys that kids just don’t want anything to do with. This is not to say your child wont play with a plastic toy; just that they will play better and longer with quality toys.
My most basic “no-no” I have when it comes to buying a toy is that it must not be plastic.
Almost all plastic toys contain phthalates, BPA and other chemicals that can be carcinogenic as well as known endocrine disrupters.
Your endocrine system keeps your metabolism, and sexual development on track. Endocrine disruptors interfere with that system and cause imbalances. This can cause tumors, birth defects, and developmental disorders. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says that endocrine disruptors produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. (not the animals!) A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. NIEHS supports studies to determine whether exposure to endocrine disruptors may result in human health effects including lowered fertility and an increased incidence of endometriosis and other cancers.
Don’t be so trusting as to think the government would keep us safe from these known toxins! There are less than Ten phthalates currently banned for use for toys and children’s items in the USA while DOZENS are being allowed into their products even with plenty of research to back up their high threat levels.
This sounds scary and to be honest; IT IS! We live in a world where we are not being protected from known toxins and it is up to us to make educated decisions about what goes in and around our bodies and homes.
Don’t have a panic attack…there are PLENTY of alternative options!
Wood is quality, durable, and beautiful! Unfinished is always the way to go unless the paint or stain is also nontoxic (and don’t forget ecofriendly too!!)
[My favorite wood toy brands will be revealed in the next blog post so keep an eye out! Sign up for notifications or check the insta/and facebook groups for the most up to date info!]
Specifically stainless steel. While there are less options here this is a wonderful area to explore. Metal interacts with the environment faster than wood (heating and cooling to touch, or lack thereof) and pure stainless steel is of course lead free!
Easily accessible and so soft, natural fibers are a wonderful choice! From cotton to silk and even wool you can find natural fibers for so many needs. My personal favorite is of course waldorf dolls made of organic cotton and wool.
However avoid synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. These contain just so many toxins. ( But more on that another day)
I know it can be difficult learning new information especially when you have been living a certain way for some time. Sometimes the truth is scary but as I always say:
When you KNOW better, you can DO better!
We can do better everyone!