Tag Archives | teething toy

What You Don’t Know About Plastic Toys Made From PVC

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts over the last few months at Mommy Footprint. The last time I experienced this, I was listening to a dietitian named Jen talk ~ things started clicking together and I made changes. My sudden insight of late comes after many hours reading what the experts at EWG have to say, watching the Disappearing Male documentary, and getting many opinions from moms I trust that are focused on non-toxic households. It’s a feeling that actually saddens me because anyone that knows me is aware I love toys. Not at a normal level ~ I enjoy buying them more than my kids enjoy receiving them. I really thought this made me a good mom.

When my Mommy Footprint journey began, many things changed in our household. I began to experience a new awakening of the environment and also an understanding that I need to check products for myself before trusting that big name companies were watching out for my children. Because of financial reasons and having a house that is filled with too much ‘stuff’ I’ve been scaling back for the better part of 11 months and feel quite ashamed of my access in the last 6 years of being a parent. I’ve also realized that many things in my house are indeed toxic; cleaning supplies, personal care products, and toys. My focus with this article is toys and the important lesson for consumers that purchase toys for small children.

There is so much confusion with the terms PVC, phthalates, plasticizers, types of plastic, etc., it still has me scratching my head at times. There are a few things I’ve learned and it would have altered the course of my parenting had I known that most soft plastic toys are toxic. If you knew that a child simply mouthing a PVC plastic toy could be compared to a child sucking chemicals from a sponge wouldn’t you call poison control and find out what the effects were? Well the European Union really had a grasp of this problem back in the 1990’s and banned a lot of products that continue to be sold in Canada and the US ~ why? In 1997 Austria, France, Greece, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden all banned phthalates (one of the most common chemicals used to make plastic soft) from being used in toys.  Why is North America so much slower to react?

PVC is one of the most widely used forms of plastic, but it’s known as a human carcinogen. What would possess a toy manufacturer to use it in toys? We know that during the processing of PVC, dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals known are created and released. Over the course of it’s lifetime, PVC plastic leaks harmful additives and because it’s not recyclable, PVC ends up being burned or sits in a landfill. Burning this plastic is very harmful because dioxins are further released (air pollution), so it most likely ends up sitting in the landfill where it further pollutes our soil.

So I’ve written about soft plastic toys previously because my children have all mouthed and bathed with soft plastic toys their entire lives. What do I know about these toys to date? The chemicals used to make these toys soft pose potential health problems with mainly reproduction and cancer. That’s not a good feeling. I’ve spoken with toy manufacturers and taking the first step would be researching toys that are ‘phthalate free’. But ~ I would go one step further and purchase PVC free toys. If you are purchasing a tubby toy or teething toy, there should not be PVC plastic anywhere near it. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at sites for non-toxic bath toys (because all my children love playing in the tub) and in all my research, I’ve managed to find only 2 brands/products I would feel 100% comfortable with: Green Toys and Boon.

Another product line I’ve talked about in the past that has been a savior with my kids is Green Toys. I can’t tell you the peace of mind I have when I watch my twins (every night) have a tea party with their Green Toys tea set. Made from recycled Becel containers, I’ve been able to rest assured that chemicals aren’t leeching from the cups, spoons, saucers, and tea pot they play with every night. My best purchase to date for my girls and they’ve just turned three!

I’ve struggled of late with plastic. You think you’ve got your mind wrapped around BPA, phthalates, PVC. etc., then something new comes along and it’s overwhelming. I wish I could zap myself back in time and change many things with my children. Understanding more about toxic products would have really helped me. I’m trying not to be really angry when I read articles published by Greenpeace about the danger of PVC and toys back in 1999. I join their fight against toxic, environmentally destructive, and dangerous toys 10 years later, where I feel like nothing has really changed. I’ve even learned that PVC hard plastic exists with many toys and wonder if Barbie is still made from PVC, like the Greenpeace website confirms. She turned 50 this year ~ I wonder if the manufactures know that there are now alternatives to traditional plastic, like corn or natural rubber.

** Side note to this article ** I did call the Vancouver Aquarium because I wanted to know how their soft PVC plastic toys were produced because of my concerns about phthalates and toxic tubby toys. The manager told me that as of Sept/08, they confirmed that their soft plastic toys were made phthalate free. This made me feel better until my friend posed the question ~ what chemical plasticizers did they use to get the PVC plastic soft? It’s just so true, they have to put some sort of checimal into hard plastic to make it soft, so my advice would be to by-pass all PVC products and stick to non-toxic alternatives.

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Teething Bling For Babies…Worn By Mom!

It is one of those visuals that you quickly see and think huh?  You pause, and then gasp “that’s brilliant!”  I had one of those moments when I tripped onto the website called Smart Mom.  Two moms started this company and created ‘teething bling’ for moms.  

Parents know that children put everything they shouldn’t into their mouth – keys, money, and jewelry to name a few items.  I can remember Francesco knawing on my collar bone to try and relieve some teething discomfort as a little guy!  Well now you can multi-task looking good and soothing your child’s aching mouth.  Enter Teething Bling that is a product that can only be described as cool!  This product combines an attractive piece of jewelry and a safe alternative for your baby/toddler to play/teeth with and it stays clean hanging around mom’s neck.  Check out this visual and read more…

Not only are these pendants totally safe and non-toxic, but they look very hip!  They are made from phthalate-free, bpa-free, latex-free, PVC-free and lead-free (wanted to cover all the bases) high quality silicone and are even dishwasher friendly!  For added safety the pendants come with a breakaway clasp, although they state these are for moms to wear, not children or toddlers.

You are able to order directly from the Smart Mom website or you can check out their retail partners list…there are stores all over North America that carry these ‘practical and pretty’  shower or baby gifts.

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Organic, Non-Toxic Gift Ideas For Baby

I’ve been slowly gathering ideas because there are a few special people in my world expecting babies.  What would a person that is starting to learn wayyyyy too much about toxic baby products give as a baby gift?  Here is a compilation of very affordable ideas that I’ve bookmarked over the last few months. I’m sure there’s a few you haven’t seen!

1. Milk Lush, organic baby quilt. Made by an amazingly talented new mom, her line of organic quilts are  the perfect size.  These are a special, affordable, and a unique present. Her choice of fabrics is magical and each quilt is one of a kind made with 100% cotton, stuffed with organic cotton batting, and the side that is dreamy next to a baby is minky. (If you haven’t felt this material…it is amazingly soft!) It has tabs for baby to chew and that can attach to the stroller or carrier so you don’t loose it. She is currently sold out of her quilts, but will have new designs on her Etsy site on August 15th so stay tuned!  Check out these sweet designs from Ashely.

 

2. Whipstitch Backstitch These Eco-friendly stuffies will be available in the Fall, (I’m just a tease) but I had to show off this latest find! A wildly talented artist has created environmentally conscious creatures that children will adore! Looking for the perfect 1st friend or stuffie for baby? These are hand stitched with love and are filled with Ecofill stuffing (recycled plastic that is non-toxic). Continue Reading →

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