Non Toxic and Sustainable Toy Options
Christmas is coming and that means the inevitable shower of toys for our kids from well meaning friends and relatives is upon us. Whether you’re doing the receiving or the shopping, picking a toy that isn’t full of lead, BPA and other harmful chemicals can be a stressful experience. Back when I had my first baby, nobody was talking about non toxic toys for kids, at least not people I knew or in the magazines I read. Throw that toddler a plastic powder scented doll and some plastic blocks while they watched the Cartoon Network, with what I’m now sure were equally toxic snacks and a bottle of juice, and you were good to go. Thankfully, times have changed. More knowledge and availability have made it easier to get your kid out of the BPA zone, not only helping us to have healthier children, but a healthier planet due to less harmful chemicals and sustainable options.
Plastics are a big problem for the human body and the environment. One of the most common plastics in kid’s toys is PVC. This nasty stuff contains vinyl chloride, volatile organic compounds, lead, cadmium and phthalates. Many of these are known carcinogens. Another plastic that can cause hormone disruption and defects in growing embryos is BPA. BPA is being phased out but is often replaced with BPS which is just as bad, disrupting the way the body’s cells function.
Because plastics are usually toxic for the environment and humans, avoiding it when possible is best. Try and stick with natural materials such as unfinished wood, organic cotton, and untreated wool. Try to avoid painted wood, as many paints contain lead. This is a common problem with toys from many countries.
Best Non Toxic Toy Brands
Grimm’s- Grimm’s offers a large selection of wooden toys, safely painted.
Hape- This company offers a large variety of toys and is huge on safety, quality, environmental responsibility as well as social responsibility. For each set of blocks purchased, one set is given to a child in need.
Tegu- A sustainable business with a positive social impact and fun magnetized wooden building blocks coloured with non toxic water based dyes.
Green Toys- Toys made of recycled food grade plastic and colorants such as milk jugs. A non toxic plastic option for your littles.
Cuddle+kind- Hand knit by artisans in Peru, these dolls are not only made of natural, high quality cotton, but they also provide sustainable and fair trade income for women. If that wasn’t awesome enough, Cuddle+kind gives 10 meals to a child in need for each doll sold.
Under the Nile- This company uses 100% organic cotton for it’s teethers and cloth toys.
There are lots of options and what is great about wooden and cloth toys is that it encourages more imaginative play. Check out farmer’s markets, craft fairs and facebook groups in your area to see what local people around you have to offer.
You are likely to find beautiful handcrafted wooden instruments, doll houses and beds, blocks, trains and dolls! Another option is a wooden easel with non toxic water based paints to keep your little ones busy and safe.
I’ll leave you with some great news! Lego is made with ABS, one of the safest plastics, so no need to run screaming to the garbage can and toss this classic favourite!
When in doubt, check ToySafety.org to help send you in the right direction when looking for safe toy options.