Numerous chemicals are added to plastics so that they remain elastic, do not ignite so easily or acquire a special consistency. But many of these substances have proven to be harmful to health in the past, reports the science magazine “scinexx”. Such harmful plastics are also often found in children’s toys. This is the result of a study by Nicolo Aurisano and his team at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby.
126 Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Children’s Toys
The chemicals in question in plastic toys were examined. The researchers examined whether these are potentially harmful and how high the stress is for a child who plays with these toys, reports “scinexx”. To do this, the researchers evaluated data from 419 chemicals found in children’s toys made of soft and hard plastic.
In doing so, they combined the chemical content information with information on material properties and the play behavior of children – such as the useful life of a toy, whether a child could potentially put it in their mouth and how many toys a child has on average.
Of the 419 chemicals contained in children’s toys, the researchers were able to identify 126 substances that could potentially harm the health of children, reports Peter Fantke, a researcher from the team. The scientists classified concentrations as potentially harmful that exceeded the guideline values or the official risk thresholds for a carcinogenic effect.
Substances of concern even in supposedly healthier substitutes
These substances are the first to disappear from children’s toys, according to Fantke, and to be replaced by safer and more sustainable alternatives. However, potentially harmful substances were also found in some supposedly healthier substitutes.
These should therefore be further investigated in order to prevent a harmful chemical from being replaced by a similarly harmful one. The investigation also found that the greatest risk comes from the volatile substances emitted from the plastic.
In contrast, absorption through skin contact occurs less often, reports “scinexx”. Even if the children are only playing with one toy, they are breathing in the chemicals that all the toys in the room emit.