Phthalates or phthalates esters are esters of phthalic acid that are mainly used as plasticizers used to confer softness, flexibility and longevity to PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride). PVC is an extensively used material and widely used in manufacturing of toys and other children’s articles such as teethers, inflatable toys and soft figures etc. Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), di butyl phthalate (DBP), di-isononylphthalate (DINP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) are 6 phthalates that are banned in making of toys. Phthatates are mainly used in transforming polyvinyl chloride from hard plastic to a flexible plastic. Since 1999, the European commission has restricted the use of phthalates in children’s toys and childcare articles. Phthalates such as DEHP, DINP and DIDP are added to improve the flexibility in soft PVC products, but are not covalently bound in the plastic matrix. Therefore, it can leach out at normal conditions and is enhanced by heat, agitation, friction and impaction.
Children are in close connection with their toys and they generally put them in their mouth which can adversely affect. These hazardous chemicals in the toys may admit in the child’s body and over the time when accumulating, adversely affect the child’s growth and cause serious health issues, such as disruption of hormonal system, cancer, reproductive disorders.
Kids are more prone to the harmful effects of phthalates due to their large skin surface area relative to their weight; considerably thinner skin (more permeable), high respiration and metabolism rate with less developed immune, nervous and detoxification systems. That’s why they absorb much more toxic substances than adults.
- Before buying toys and childcare articles parents should read the labels and contents carefully.
- Parents should not let their kids play alone with their toys, so that they do not keep the unhealthy toys in their mouth.
Spectro Analytical Lab offers all the facilities and instruments for testing all kinds of toys and childcare articles. It also provides training and assistance in this regard.