Greenpeace campaigns to ban phthalates in EEU toys
Environmental NGO Greenpeace is campaigning for a ban on phthalates in toys and articles that cause exposure through skin or by inhalation, especially those which could come into contact with children's mouths.
Phthalates are mainly used as plastic softeners. They exist in a large variety of products, from toys to food packages and textiles. Scientific studies have found that they can have negative effects on the body (they can be easily absorbed through the skin) and can cause hormone malfunctions and deformities. Unborn children and infants are particularly susceptible to phthalate exposure.
The results were shocking:70% of the plastic toys contained high levels of phthalates; levels that would see these products pulled off the shelves in the EU or the US. But Chinese domestic standards were weak. For example, the Chinese restriction on phthalates only covered toy coating, leaving other parts of a toy completely unregulated.
The campaign will also call on parents to buy less plastic products and find alternative ways of entertaining children, such as by using homemade toys and games.
The campaign could be extended internationally and address the footprint that hazardous chemicals in toys makes on the environment, from production to waste management.