New Report in Washington State Finds That Multiple Toys and Common Products Contain Toxins Harmful to Children
Although not necessarily related to birth defects, a new study should be of concern to new parents. A study produced by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States finds that toxins in certain common products may be harmful to young children. Despite this, stores still carry these items, and parents buy them without being informed of their content.
The report, "Chemicals Revealed," focuses specifically on products in the state of Washington, but would likely be relevant elsewhere. It identified over 5,000 products that include toxins and carcinogens that affect development and reproduction. These products include car seats, footwear, toys, bedding, and even arts and crafts products. The toxins found within them include toxic metals like mercury and cadmium, as well as phthalates, which are known to be endocrine disrupters.
Washington has required retailers to report whether they carry chemicals potentially harmful to children since 2008. The retailers who reported include well-known retailers like Wal-Mart and the Gap. However, the retailers only need to report categories, not actual products containing the toxins, which makes it difficult for those concerned about health risks to identify the individual products at issue within stores.
According to the report, store products generally linked with toxins include Graco car seats, which contain a flame retardant known as tetrabromobisphenol A, and Wal-Mart dolls, which contain bisphenol A (BPA), another known endocrine disrupter.
As with the case of triclosan mentioned in the last post, one reason these toxins have been able to permeate common products is because chemical regulations are lagging behind in relation to products that have already been released in the marketplace. The last major federal update of toxin regulations was in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act. While several states have moved to fill in the gaps left by the federal legislation, many holes still remain, and exposure to toxic chemicals can get through.