November 20, 2008

The following information is US-focused but still very useful for Canadian consumers - CPCHE editor.

 By Janelle Sorenson, Senior Writer and Health Consultant at Healthy Child Healthy World

In August, Healthy Child Healthy World celebrated as the President signed a law banning lead and several phthalates from toys and baby products. However, the law doesn’t go into effect until February 10th, 2009, giving toy makers and stores months to sell the soon-to-be-illegal products. The unintended consequence of this important ban? Retailers are flooding the market with the toxic toys, priced to sell, just in time for the swarms of Holiday shoppers.

Buyer Beware! Manufacturers and retailers will be selling these toys with no warnings at prices sure to lure the unassuming shopper. It’s sell it now or throw it away, so they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

What's a parent to do?

  1. Most toys don't list their ingredients and oftentimes the retailer and manufacturer’s customer service reps don’t even know the chemical make-up of their products. So, it’s up to you to discern the safest options on the shelves. Use our Healthy Toy Pocket Shopping Guide to help you find the kid-friendliest toys. Print it now and keep it on you – you never know when you’ll have a spare moment to pick up a couple gifts.
  2.  Reap the rewards of someone else’s research and shop online from the comfort of your own home. Use the following Green Guides to buy all your gifts (not just toys) virtually guilt-free.
  3. Make a wish list for your kids and share with others who may be purchasing gifts for them this season. Let them know that millions of toys have been recalled in the past year and that there are thousands still on the shelves that will be illegal come February. If they care for your child, they should understand your concern. Just be sure to include a wide variety of gift ideas in all price ranges, so they don’t feel obligated to spend more than they can afford. Also, make the list even greener by adding gifts that might be purchased second hand, or experiential gifts like theater tickets or museum passes.

Most of all, remember the true spirit of the season. If shopping is causing undue worry and stress, perhaps it’s time to start some new family traditions. Think outside the gift-box. Imagine a happier holiday. Enjoy.