Christmas time is a wonderful time for children. They are the ones who feel most joy and happiness because of the wonderful toys they find under the Christmas tree. But did you know those toys and often products for children can contain substances that may interfere with children´s hormone system and cause long-term health effects? When shopping for your Christmas presents for the little ones, most of us want to buy toys that are safe for children as well as the environment.
Unwanted substances in children’s products
While some hazardous substances (such as heavy metals, certain phthalates, Bisphenol A or organophosphated flame-retardants) were banned in children toys and products, there are many unregulated substances out there which may affect the healthy development of children.
Yet, there are products that don’t fall under the scope of Toy Safety Directive such as office supplies including coloring pens, sport equipment like bicycles or skates, clothing, and fashion accessories and generally all products except for toys that are intended for children above the age of 3.
Second, persistent and bioaccumulative substances as well as chemicals causing hormone disruption are mostly unregulated.
Finally, the regulation often bans only one or a small number of specific substances with similar toxicity. There are tens of phthalates on the market but only six are banned from children’s toys. There are also unnecessary exemptions like the fact that the substance can be inside the toy where it is not accessible to children while they play.
The right to know
You have the right to ask producers and retailers about the presence of the so-called Substances of very high concern (SVHCs) under the EU Chemicals Regulation REACH. SVHCs can be carcinogenic, reprotoxic and mutagenic, they can be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, or very persistent and very bioaccumulative, or of a similar level of concern, such as endocrine disruptive.
Let’s to change!
With the Scan4chem app you can scan the barcode of a product and ask toys manufacturers and retailers about the presence of chemicals that can be harmful to children. This way, it can help you to choose safer products. It will also show the companies that we the consumers care and do not want to buy products containing hazardous substances.
Use the Scan4Chem app and find out if your favorite producer of toys and children’s products has phased out these substances from its production.
Download the app and send your requests. Together we can make products safer!
The campaign has been created within the LIFE AskREACH project and will run in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and other countries all over Europe. Follow the hashtag #ToxicFreeXmas on social media!
Feel free to join in and be part of this campaign!
If you want to receive further information about our Christmas activities contact: Liga Pakalna (email@example.com ), Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia.