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Children and exposure to toxic chemicals | Products used by babies and children.
Toxic Chemicals

Children are being exposed to dangerous levels of toxins
found in toys, car seats, batteries, baby bottles, soap, and even shower curtains—all of which have contained lead, mercury, cadmium, a plastic-softening chemical called phthalates, and other dangerous chemicals.

  • BPA.  Baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA.  Some researchers say ingesting the chemical can interfere with development of the reproductive and nervous systems in babies and young children. Fortunately, the bottle industry has reportedly phased out the chemical in baby bottles, although it is considered safe for use in products that hold food.  BPA is found in hundreds of plastic items from water bottles to CDs to dental sealants.   ("FDA tightens baby bottle rules," Associated Press, July 18, 2012) 

  • Button Batteries.  An alert to parents on the danger of button batteries: Every 3 hours a child shows up in a U.S. emergency room with a coin-shaped battery that’s been swallowed or placed in the mouth, ears or nose.  An increasing number of children are swallowing the button batteries that power everything from remote controls to watches, toys, games, hearing aids, calculators, flashlights, musical greeting cards, and other electronic devices.
Parents should consider taping battery compartments closed so children can’t get to the batteries inside.
With new, more powerful batteries being sold, the issue is no longer poisoning from the lithium inside.  The problem is the current that is created by the battery when it stops on the way to the stomach in the esophagus in less than 2 hours.  The moisture in the esophagus can spark a micro current in the 3-volt 20 mm lithium batteries lodged there.

“That will lead to cell death and eventually burn a hole right through the esophagus,” Smith says. “And that will lead to long term scarring and stricture. Even worse, there are some cases where it eroded right into the aorta and the child bled to death. These are horrific outcomes that need to be prevented.”

“Serious damage can occur in less than two hours.  If parents have any suspicion that their child has swallowed a button battery – even if they’re not sure – they need to take the child immediately to the emergency room to get an X-ray to see if the button battery is stuck in the esophagus... This can’t wait till the next morning.”  (NBC's John Yang report, Today Show, May 14, 2012.   This report was published in Pediatrics, Dr. Gary Smith, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, May 2012) 
  • Children’s Cosmetics.  Some cosmetics for children, ranging from some brands of lip gloss to nail polish, contain the toxic chemicals toluene and xylene. 

View products that could be harmful to children and families
(toys, cribs, chairs, drinking glasses, lunchboxes),
by visiting the following websites: 
A non-profit research and advocacy organization for parents and caregivers, helping them make informed decisions to protect the health and development of our most precious resource—our children.  This site empowers families to lead healthier lives in a healthier environment.   http://www.HealthyChild.org 

“Dangerous Toy List” and a toy safety report every Christmas.
http://uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety (U.S. Public Interest Group).

Government email Alerts
Parents may also sign up to receive email alerts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In addition, view all recalls at

Healthy Toys

Search a database of toys to see how public interest groups ranked them for safety.  Parents can now have a list of toys which tested clean.  The ratings range from low to high risk.  They have tested hundreds of toys for lead, arsenic, mercury, bromine, cadmium, etc.  Babies and young children are the most vulnerable populations because their brains and bodies are still developing, and because they frequently put toys into their mouths.  http://healthytoys.org 

Recalled toys
View a list at Consumer Product Safety Commission

Toys with Lead Paint hazard

“12 Safe Toy Shopping Tips

National Lead Information Center

Washington State Dept. of Health

What You Can Do
  • Encourage lawmakers to ban chemicals which are dangerous to children.  In the spring of 2013, Washington lawmakers considered, but did not pass, a measure to ban chlorinated Tris (described above) and another flame retardant from children's products or upholstered furniture. 
Additional Resources

Protecting Consumers - Keep your family Safe.
Consumer products and Medical dangers.
Defective, unsafe, or harmful goods or products…
Baby/children products, drugs, medical devices,
household chemicals, televisions, furniture, gun safety....  

Non-Toxic Kids