There are several reasons for this. The problems lie in regulation, plastics, and cost. Existing regulations in the toy industry do not necessarily cover dangerous chemicals. That is why many toys are released with said dangerous chemicals and then if the industry catches on it will have a recall of the toy. The EPA decides what chemicals are so toxic as to be banned but there are over 80,000 chemicals listed in the EPA’s inventory of toxic substances and extensive research and exposure are needed before any one of those on the list can have restricted use. Few on the list are actually restricted and thus the list of chemicals in children’s toys has a long time before the EPA might try to regulate them.
Lead is a toxic culprit in children’s toys but the biggest concern is plastics. The majority of children’s toys are made of plastic since it won’t break as easily or succumb to everyday activities like swimming with the toy or chewing on it. But as is becoming more well known, being exposed to plastic toys or drinking from plastic containers and such can be toxic to our health. There’s currently no restrictions on plastics in children’s toys.
The last reason, cost, is a another contributor to the presence of toxins in toys. In an effort to keep costs low cheap (and usually toxic) materials are used. Part of cutting costs also means exporting the toy-making process to other countries where labor is cheaper and environmental regulations on the use of chemicals and toxins may be more lax.
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