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The US Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the Teamsters Office of Consumer Affairs released its report, the National Commission of Inquiry into Toxic Toys, on November 18. While this report relates to toys for sale in the US, consumers should be aware of these chemical additives that might be in toys that end up under Canadian Christmas trees this season.
Two years ago Toys “R” Us (TRU) committed to reduce sale of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic that is toxic to human health and the environment, and to offer more PVC-free products.  The report highlights results of testing 60 randomly selected products from TRU and Babies “R” Us.  Of note, 72.5% of toys and children’s products tested contained high chlorine levels, which indicates they are probably made of PVC.  This means that TRU failed to meet its commitment: the company continues to sell made-in-China toys and infant products that contain and are packaged in PVC, as well as organotins (organic tin compounds that are used as additives in PVC products).
As the CHEJ reminds us, children are not just tiny adults — their brains and bodies are developing, and they are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects from toxic chemicals.   This holiday season, consumers can look for  toys and games that are PVC-free — look for the universal recycling symbol on the packaging — if the symbol has the number “3” in the centre it or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath, the product is made from PVC.   However, many products may not be properly labelled. If you call the manufacturer to ask what type of plastic they use in their product and packaging, you may be surprised.

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