Playing Safe on the Playground

Springtime is a great time for children to play outside. It’s a good opportunity to try out the new sand molds, shovels, balance bikes or inflatable toys. But did you know those toys and other products for children can contain substances that may interfere with children´s hormone system and cause long-term health effects? When shopping for your little ones, most of us want to buy toys that are safe for children as well as the environment.

Unwanted substances in children’s products
While some hazardous substances (such as heavy metals, certain phthalates, Bisphenol A or organophosphate flame-retardants) were banned in children’s toys and products, there are many unregulated substances out there, which may affect the healthy development of children.
Yet, there are products that do not fall under the scope of the Toy Safety Directive such as office supplies including colouring pens, sport equipment like bicycles or skates, clothing and fashion accessories and generally all products except for toys that are intended for children above the age of 3.
In addition, many persistent and bioaccumulative substances as well as chemicals causing hormone disruption are still unregulated.
Last but not least, the legislation often bans only one or a small number of specific substances with similar toxicity. There are dozens of phthalates on the market, but only the most hazardous ones are banned from children’s toys. There are also unnecessary exemptions like the fact that the substance can be inside the toy where it is not accessible to children while they play.

The right to know
You have the right to ask producers and retailers about the presence of the so-called Substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in products under the EU Chemicals Regulation REACH. SVHCs can be carcinogenic, reprotoxic and/or mutagenic, they can be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, or very persistent and very bioaccumulative, or of a similar level of concern, such as endocrine disruptive (affect the hormone system).

Let´s make a change!
With the Scan4Chem app you can scan the barcode of a product and ask toys manufacturers and retailers about the presence of chemicals that can be harmful to human health or the environment. This way, it can help you to choose safer products. It will also show the companies that we, the consumers, care and do not want to buy products containing hazardous substances.
Use the Scan4Chem app and find out if your favourite producer of toys and children’s products has phased out these substances from their production.
Download the app and send your requests. Together we can make products safer!