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Monday, August 23, 2010

Plastic toys in India 'can damage children's health'

Plastic toys being sold in India can seriously jeopardise the health of children playing with them, as they may contain an extremely toxic chemical, says a recent study.
The study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), carried out at its Pollution Monitoring Laboratory in Delhi, found high levels of phthalates (pronounced tha-lates), a chemical used to soften plastic, in all samples of toys it tested. Over 45 per cent of the samples exceeded the internationally accepted safe limit for phthalates.

India has no regulations to control or monitor the use of these toxins, says Chandra Bhushan, associate director, CSE. "What India has is a set of voluntary standards covering safety aspects of toys. The government has banned the import of toys not meeting these standards, but what will happen when this ban ends on January 23 this year?"

Organic chemicals
Phthalates are organic chemicals commonly used as plasticizers to make plastic supple. They are responsible for plastic products being cheap, easy to clean – and toxic. Phthalates can damage the male reproductive system, impair the lungs and affect the duration of pregnancy. Laboratory tests on mammals indicate phthalates can trigger asthma and allergies, and lead to poor semen quality, genital defects, premature breast development and skeletal defects. Children under three years are more likely to be exposed to phthalates because they tend to chew and suck on plastic toys – and since their metabolic, endocrine and reproductive systems are immature, they are more vulnerable as well.

Phthalates are produced from petrochemicals. They look like clear vegetable oil and are odourless. Till recently, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) dominated the use of plasticizers in toys. After scientific studies showed DEHP as toxic, di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) has become the most commonly used plasticizer. But studies show that DINP is also harmful.
Toy samples
The CSE lab tested 24 toy samples – all randomly bought from markets and toyshops in Delhi – for the presence of phthalates. Fifteen were soft toys and nine hard toys. The samples were found to have been manufactured in four countries: India, China, Taiwan and Thailand. The tests showed:

• All the samples contained one or more phthalates – DEHP, DINP, DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate), all harmful. And 46 per cent of the samples had phthalates exceeding the EU limit of 0.1 per cent by mass of plasticized material.

• Of the sampled toys that children generally put in their mouths (such as teethers), 29 per cent exceeded the phthalate limit.

• Of the 24 samples picked randomly, 14 were found to be from China and 2 from Taiwan – 57 per cent of the China-made toys and 100 per cent of the Taiwan-made toys crossed the safe limit.

• Indian manufacturers accounted for 7 samples: one of these (14 per cent) was above the phthalate limit.

The study also proved that claims of "non-toxic" which some toy labels carry are false and fraudulent, says CSE. "For example, a soft toy manufactured by Funskool India Limited, that claimed to be safe for children aged 3–18 months, had phthalate content 162 times above the safe limit."


  1. Toys India Are you planning a bashing birthday party for your kids? Have you completed all arrangements for making the upcoming party a successful one

  2. Very nice post! I just love the funskool toys online.Thanks a lot !!

  3. thanks for your post. you are right the plastic toys are harmful for kids health.. but toygully presents you a fisher price toys that is not harmful for your childs health.