|Recalled plastic toys containing phthalates.|
Over the past decade, the vinyl toy collectable market has been booming. Companies are producing vinyl plastic toys modeled after famous pop-culture characters, with the most popular being Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line of characters. According to their website, “Funko currently holds hundreds of licenses and the rights to create tens of thousands of characters - one of the largest portfolios in the pop culture and collectibles industry”. They make vinyl figurines of everything from cartoon and movie characters, to comic book heroes, to social and political figures. You can even customize a Pop! Vinyl character of yourself.
While they’re now a worldwide collectable craze, they’re also potentially harming the planet. Most plastic and vinyl toys are made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and is derived from petroleum and chlorine. The real harm comes from the production and incineration of these products. Deadly fumes are being released into the atmosphere, adding the the greenhouse effect and contributing to global warming.
Some plastic toys contain phthalates, which are a group of chemicals called “endocrine disruptors”. Endocrine disruptors can act like hormones in the body or they can suppress the natural production of honorees in the body. Handling plastic products made with phthalates are not harmful, but if ingested, usually by children chewing on them, they can enter the body and do serious damage. Most plastics that contain harmful phthalates have been banned in the United States, but anything made before the ban or from other countries without the ban are still out in the world.
The best way to avoid these products is to make sure you are only buying children’s toys that are labeled to not contain phthalates or to buy toys made from natural products like unfinished wood and cotton.
Some companies that specialize in natural children’s toys are:
Melissa and Doug