As a parent or a consumer, you may have read or heard reports casting doubt on the safety of soft plastic toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl. Claims have been made that when children suck and chew on soft vinyl toys, such as teethers or pacifiers, they are being exposed to “hazardous materials.” International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), the worldwide association of the toy industry, along with many other organizations and scientific groups, would like to set the record straight.
The toy industry has an absolute commitment to ensure that its products are safe. Along with voluntary standards established by the industry, we conform to stringent government standards for the safety and health of all individuals, especially children. The safety of toys is, without question, the industry’s top priority, and it supports any scientific investigation which can help improve or reinforce the safety of its products.
We have prepared this brochure to explain some of the issues that relate to vinyl toys and assure you – as parents and consumers – that vinyl toys are safe.
Polyvinyl chloride, often referred to as PVC or vinyl, has been around for more thanfifty years, and is one of the world’s most widely used and researched plastics. It is found in every home in a variety of consumer products ranging from water pipes to shower curtains. Its approved use in food packaging as well as its wide spread applications in the health care field demonstrate the safety of PVC. Vinyl is used for the storage of national blood supplies throughout the world as well as in numerous surgical applications.
Recently, some groups have raised concerns about phthalates, an ingredient that makes vinyl soft and pliable. Critics have taken a potpourri of scientific half-truths and developed a campaign alleging that vinyl products containing phthalates (pronounced th-al-ates) pose a danger, especially when used to make products such as children’s toys. They claim that harmful chemicals migrate from the soft plastic and accumulate in the human body causing serious health threats. These allegations are simply not true and do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.
The toy industry is concerned that parents and consumers are being unfairly targeted and frightened by extremist environmental groups. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify misinformation about vinyl and any potential threats to the health and well-being of children. None of the claims made by critics have been supported by reliable scientific evidence. If there were any truth to these claims, we would be the first to eliminate any hazardous ingredients. We would never compromise children’s safety. After all, we have children too.
- Vinyl is one of the world’s most widely used and most researched plastics with a safety record of more than 50 years.
- Vinyl is a material used in many toys, and, despite sensationalized and irresponsible claims made recently by some groups, toy manufacturers are confident that it is safe. This confidence in vinyl is based on the findings and opinions of national regulatory agencies and some of the most respected scientists in the world.
- Soft vinyl contains a substance called phthalates. Research into the effects of phthalates does not show that phthalates themselves are in any way hazardous to children’s health. In fact, there is no scientific evidence that these chemicals put people of any age at risk.
- While vinyl is the principal component in a wide range of products for consumers, the healthcare industry, and other highly regulated industries, some organizations have targeted products for children due to the high visibility of toys and the opportunities they offer for media coverage. Their research methods are at best questionable and their claims unfounded. The allegations against the safety of vinyl toys cannot be substantiated by scientific fact. They simply are not true.
- Vinyl and phthalates have been used in the manufacture of toys and baby products for 40 years. Generations of children have played with, and sucked on, toys made from pliable vinyl, and there is no evidence of any adverse effects. Indeed, the widespread use of phthalates in a number of non-toy products has led to extensive research verifying its safety.
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