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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Leadership and Governance for Sustainability > Risk Management by Governance

Toxic-Free Kids Plastic Products, Toys, and Food Packaging

PVCs - Soft plastics and phthalates and Hard plastics and bisphenol A - in products for children should be avoided -- by manufacturers, distributors, retailers and parents.

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Children's Health, Chemicals and Product Development as Risk Management

I'm beginning to wonder if there's a reason Mother Nature buried some materials deep in the bowels of the earth...out of our reach. It's nature's way of managing risk. Corporate leaders, too need to set up policies that keep harmful materials out of human reach -- both for their customers and their employees.

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Risk Management of Children's Products

Because our children’s health is nothing to play with, Environment California www.environmentcalifornia.org has put out a warning about PVCs in products -- especially for children, who are more vulterable to toxins and pollutants because of their developing organs and sensitivity to their environmental contact with products.

Plastic products, toys, and food packaging are everywhere, and often they can be quite useful. Unfortunately, many plastic products contain harmful chemicals.

We are only beginning to understand the health threats, especially to developing babies and children. While everyone should be mindful about their exposure to these chemicals, it is especially critical that parents, grandparents, and others taking care of young children work to avoid children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

A few small, easy changes in how parents store and heat foods and what toys a child plays with can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals that can harm child development. Use these simple guidelines to help everyone -- parents, designers, and risk management executives -- choose what to design, sell, buy, use, or give to children.

Soft plastics and phthalates

Soft plastics and phthalates: PVC plastics— those pliable, gummy-like plastics—are laden with phthalates, chemicals that have been linked to premature birth, reproductive defects, early onset of puberty in girls, and reduced sperm quality in adult males.

PVC is used in everything from home building materials to food packaging to children’s toys.

Phthalates can leach out of these products, which is particularly concerning for children who explore the world by putting things in their mouths. While many manufacturers have removed phthalates from toys and other products intended for very young children, there is no law requiring this and very few products are labeled as such.

Hard plastics and bisphenol A

Hard plastics and bisphenol A: Polycarbonate plastic, which is hard, shatter resistant, and often clear in color, contains bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to Down’s syndrome, early onset of puberty, obesity, hyperactivity, and breast and prostate cancer.

Almost all plastic baby bottles are made from polycarbonate plastic, as well as popular reusable water bottles (like some Nalgene brand bottles) and large water cooler jugs.

In addition, a resin made with bisphenol A coats the inside of aluminum and tin food cans. Bisphenol A leaches readily into food and liquids.

Laws Prohibiting PVCs...but Risk Management Requires Caution when Millions of Dollars are Committed to Long Term Production Investments

There is no law prohibiting its use, and currently, very few manufacturers have taken any action to stop using polycarbonate plastic in their products.

It's time. California manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers can make a difference for children -- for their entire lifetimes by choosing to avoid toxic content in products that affect our health. With the cost of health care rising daily, it's truly a "save now and pay later" situation for us, California's business leaders.

As you know, health is impacted over decades -- what we put in our food and products today affects the levels of health we and our children and grandchildren will face in 5 years, 10 years and even 50 years.

Your choices today (voluntary, visionary, and risk preventative) REALLY matter. Manufacturers and the people who buy from them are like the body's blood supply...you bring nutrients or toxins to every cell of our body. You matter. Your policies matter.

Product Cautions to Reduce Toxicity and Health Impacts

  • Avoid food containers with polycarbonate plastic: Avoid #7 recycling code and those with a “PC” on the bottom/underside of the product
  • Foods wrapped in plastic
  • Plastic baby bottles

Choosing (AND Manufacturing) Safer Products

  • Look for "PVC Free" labels on toys
  • Choose wood toys
  • Choose plastic food containers labeled with #1, #2, or #5 recycling code on the bottom: You still should not heat food in these plastic containers.
  • Opt for glass: For baby bottles and food containers, look for glass options rather than plastics or cans. Heat food in glass containers.
  • Buy ceramic, metal, or enamel plates and feeding utensils

If You Use Plastic Toys or Containers

  • Don’t let children put plastic toys in their mouths
  • Never heat food or beverages in plastic bottles or containers
  • Don’t let milk sit in plastic baby bottles for long periods
  • Don’t use harsh detergents or hot water when washing plastic baby bottles or containers. Never put in dishwasher.
  • Throw away plastic bottles that look scratched or hazy

CONTACT: Environment California

Offices
3435 Wilshire Blvd. #385
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Phone: (213) 251-3688

1107 9th Street, Suite 601
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 446-8062

369 Broadway, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 622-0086

www.environmentcalifornia.org



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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