25 Toxic Toys to Avoid

25 Toxic Toys to AvoidIt’s been several years since we first learned that a variety of toys contain dangerous toxins. But while media attention may have waned, the problem has not. Two recent reports have identified 25 toys that are tainted with toxins such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead, phthalates, and mercury.

Exposure to these chemicals can cause cognitive impairment depression autism, behavioral, problems, cancer, early onset puberty, learning disorders, lower IQs, neurological damage (memory and language impairment, attention deficits), osteoporosis, respiratory conditions, and type 2 diabetes.[1] “Toxic Tidings: Chemicals of Concern in Children’s Products,” reports on toys and gifts from retailers Claire’s and Icing, as well as dollar stores and discount toy retailers across New York City. Some of the tainted products include:

  • A Hello Kitty charm necklace (cobalt)
  • A Hello Kitty ring set (cadmium and cobalt)
  • A Hello Kitty charm bracelet (antimony and cobalt)
  • A Dora the Explorer pencil case (cadmium and lead)
  • Spongebob Squarepants briefs (cobalt)
  • A Spongebob Squarepants pencil case contained (cadmium and lead)
  • A set of Gerber onesies, purchased at Burlington Coat Factory (cadmium and cobalt)
  • A set of earrings (arsenic, cobalt, lead and antimony and another floral earring collection contained cobalt)
  • A toy truck (antimony)
  • Racecars (cobalt)
  • A toy whale (cobalt, lead)
  • A Spiderman puzzle (cobalt)
  • Police action figures (lead)

In addition, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund has identified an additional five toys that contain toxic chemicals.

  • Sheriff badge playset from Dollar Tree (lead)
  • Jake and the Neverland Pirates tambourine from Dollar Tree (chromium)
  • Hello Kitty Bracelet and Hair Clips Accessory Set Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores (phthalate)
  • Leopard pattern rubber duck from Walmart (phthalate)
  • Dora the Explorer backpack from Walgreens (phthalate)

Read the full report and see photos here.

Share Your Experience

To try to avoid toxic toys, I fill my kids’ stockings with locally made art supplies (the Crayola factory is 30 minutes from my house), organic chocolates, and non-toxic bath products. (The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database is a great resource for checking out bath and personal care products for yourself and your kids.) What is your favorite non-toxic stocking stuffer? Share your ideas in the comments section below.


[1]http://www.nysenate.gov/files/pdfs/Toxic%20Tidings%20Chemicals%20of%20Concern%20in%20Children’s%20Products.pdf

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Carrie Adkins-Ali

Carrie Adkins-Ali is executive editor of the monthly publication Health News, produced by Belvoir Media Group with Duke Health. She's also a contributor to University Health News and former Daily … Read More

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