Toxins from old toys are dangerous for your children!

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg recently published an article in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances. The study concerns the risk represented by old plastic toys for children’s health. The team tested many old toys and found that most of them contained toxic chemicals. These products would be carcinogenic and could affect the reproductive abilities of the victims.

old toys

The consumer society encourages behavior that results in waste of limited resources of the earth. To remedy this, the European Parliament adopted an action plan for the circular economy, in 2021. This consists of systematically reuse the waste produced. However, the presence of these toxins represents an obstacle for the application of this economic model.

Yes, there are harmful substances in old toys!

As part of the study, the team measured the chemical content of 157 different toys, new and old. The presence of phthalates and colored short-chain paraffins has been detected in toys. These substances are used as plasticizers and flame retardants in toys. Yet these chemicals are dangerous.

The study revealed that 84% old toys contain quantities of chemical substances that no longer comply with current European standards. As for recent toys, 30% exceeded the legal limits. Nevertheless, old items pose the most risk for children’s health.

“Concentrations of toxic substances were significantly higher in older articles. For example, many older balls had concentrations of phthalates in excess of 40% of the toy’s weight, or 400 times the legal limit. »

Professor Béthanie Carney Almroth, from the University of Göteberg

Researchers call for stronger measures

Due to the European Toy Safety Directive, authorized quantities of a number chemicals are limited. The risks to the health and safety of children are thus reduced. Currently, the allowable amount for new toys is 0.1% by weight for phthalates and 0.15% by weight for short chain chlorinated paraffins. However, this directive only concerns the new toys.

This study shows that reuse and recycling are not necessarily positive. For the circular economy to be applied safely, should other measures be taken that prevent the use of hazardous substances in toys?


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