80 percent of children's toys are contaminated. The majority of children's toys for children under the age of three are contaminated or consist of dangerous small parts that could be swallowed by the pupils. The Stiftung Warentest has tested numerous baby dolls, soft toys and other children's toys, with the worrying result that around 80 percent of all products are contaminated. Small parts that could be swallowed by the children loosened in 10 percent.
50 wooden and plastic toys tested In a comprehensive study, the experts at the Stiftung Warentest had tested ten baby dolls, fifteen soft toys, fifteen wooden toys and ten plastic toys for children under the age of three each. The experts were not only looking for possible mechanical safety defects, but also tested the pollution of children's toys. The shocking result: five out of 50 toys had mechanical defects that could cause small parts of the toys to come loose, which pose a serious health threat to young children due to the risk of swallowing.
80 percent of the products contain toxins. However, the pollution of most toys is even more worrying. Around 80 percent of all toys tested were contaminated with toxins, with two thirds even showing a “strong” to “very strong” contamination. According to the Stiftung Warentest, the children's toys contained, among other things, the phthalates used as plasticizers in plastics, which have been proven to disrupt the hormonal balance of male fetuses and children and are suspected to trigger infertility, overweight and diabetes in adults, for example. In addition, the experts at the Stiftung Warentest found formaldehyde in various game objects, which, if used improperly, can cause allergies, skin, respiratory tract or eye irritation Hazardous substance).
Aromatic hydrocarbons, nonylphenol, heavy metals and organotin compounds were also found in toys for toddlers, all substances with a similarly unfavorable health impact such as plasticizers and formaldehyde. A tested plush bear even contained azo dyes, which have been banned in the EU since 2002. This teddy bear and a plush rabbit loaded with phthalates and lead have already been taken off the market.
Wooden toys most heavily loaded According to the testers, it was striking and at the same time surprising that wooden toys were particularly heavily loaded. All fifteen tested products contained a large number of pollutants. The experts at the Stiftung Warentest found flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nickel in the “Brio” wood railway alone. In two wooden puzzles by "kik" and "Selecta" they discovered a high concentration of formaldehyde, which can, for example, evaporate from the plywood glue. In contrast, the ten plastic toys tested performed much better. Six out of ten plastic toys examined showed no load. Of only eight toys that were rated as unproblematic in the entire test, 75 percent are made of plastic. "The illusion of many parents has burst," said Hubert Primus from the Stiftung Warentest, because up to now a large number of them believed that wooden toys were generally less problematic.
Test seals are ot not sufficiently meaningful. Even if more than half of the products in the test came from China, the country of origin had no role in the quality, the expert emphasized. Branded products from German manufacturers were also unable to pass the Stiftung Warentest criteria and passed the pollutant test. In the opinion of the experts, it is also problematic that consumers cannot orientate themselves on the quality seals when buying the toys, since these can generally contain pollutants as long as the legal maximum values are not exceeded. All of the products tested had the CE mark, which is awarded when the EU guidelines are observed. However, an exact examination of the toys with regard to the actual ingredients takes place too rarely, so that it must be questioned whether the manufacturer's information is actually correct, emphasized Holger Brackmann, head of the Stiftung Warentest investigation. As toys that are labeled with a GS or TÜV seal may also contain pollutants as long as no statutory provisions are violated, all seals have little meaningfulness about the quality of children's toys.
Previous regulations inadequate In the opinion of the Stiftung Warentest, the previous regulations for the approval of children's toys are far from sufficient. The limits are set too high and not differentiated according to age. But toddlers' organisms are particularly susceptible to pollutants. As part of their investigation of toys for children under the age of three, the testers set different benchmarks than the legislator for general toy production. Here the legislative plans even go in a different direction, because from 2013 the toy directive should allow up to 1,000 milligrams of PAH per kilogram of toys and 100 milligrams of carcinogenic benzopyrene. The experts at the Stiftung Warentest strongly warn against the introduction of these overly high limit values and call on the legislator to make improvements.
Pay attention to certain features when buying toys
According to Hubert Primus, the parents must be worried because a large part of the toy has not passed the usual safety tests. The results were "a bad surprise" for him, not only because of the generally high loads, but also because even brand manufacturers such as Brio, Eichhorn, Fisher Price, Sigikid or Steiff failed the test. But what can parents do to their little ones? The experts at Stiftung Warentest recommend paying attention to noticeable smells when buying, looking for easily removable particles, completely avoiding lacquered (wooden) toys and only using dolls made of fabric for toddlers Toys that carry an organic seal are recommended, but they are usually very expensive, so going out into nature is an alternative from time to time. For example, acorns, sticks, leaves and chestnuts can be used to make toys that are particularly suitable for small children create and produce yourself (fp, 22.10.2010)
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