Washington : Many second hand plastic toys could pose a health risk for your child as the plastic may not meet the most up to date international safety guidelines, a study suggests.
Scientists from the University of Plymouth analysed 200 used plastic toys which they found in homes, nurseries and charity shops across the South West of England.
These included cars, trains, construction products, figures and puzzles, with all of them being of a size that could be chewed by young children.
They discovered high concentrations of hazardous elements including antimony, barium,bromine, cadmium, chromium, lead and selenium – which are chronically toxic to childrenat low levels over an extended period of time – in many building blocks, figures and items of jewellery that were typically either yellow, red or black.
Further tests showed that under simulated stomach conditions (involving extraction in dilute hydrochloric acid) several toys released quantities of bromine, cadmium or leadthat exceeded limits set by the European Council’s Toy Safety Directive, with the release of cadmium exceeding its limit value by an order of magnitude in some cases.
The research was led by Dr Andrew Turner, Reader in Environmental Science, who used x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to analyse the presence of elements within individual toys.
“Second hand toys are an attractive option to families because they can be inherited directly from friends or relatives or obtained cheaply and readily from charity stores, flea markets and the internet,” said DR Turner.
The research has been published in Environmental Science and Technology.