Ecoleeko Seahorse, made of organic cotton/hemp corduroy and bamboo fleece with natural kapok stuffing
The article continues: "Three types of phthalates, chemical additives that render hard plastics flexible, will be banned from children's toys and child-care products starting Feb. 10, while three other types of phthalates will be temporarily prohibited from child-care products and toys that can be placed in a child's mouth.
Consumer advocates complain that the law has ended up sanctioning a grace period that allows toy makers to sell off soon-to-be banned toys, rather than forcing them to dispose of them. "This holiday season is going to be 'buyer beware,'" says Elizabeth Hitchcock of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Organic Cotton, made-in-the-US Bath Buddy. Not quite a rubber duckie, but pretty darn fun!
What you can do:
1. Throw away all plastic toys that you are unsure of, especially the soft toys, like rubber duckies, soft read-in-the-tub baby books and other toys intended for infants and toddlers. Also affected: plastic baby bottles and teething rings. Throw them away, do NOT donate them, for all of the obvious reasons. I know this is HARD - we are all looking for ways to save money, not simply throw it away. But what is the health of children worth? More than the few dollars saved.
Food grade, BPA-free stainless steel Klean Kanteen with non-leaching, toxic free Advent sippy spout.
2. Examine the packaging. Look for toys, bottles and teething rings with labels on packaging that state they are lead and phthalate-free. Products produced in Europe (not subcontracted out to China) are often your best bet. And if stuff is on sale? Drastically reduced? Wonder why, and read the fine print. If the packaging does not say phthalate or lead-free, it most likely is not. The product is on sale because it has been dumped by the manufacturer, trying to recoup his investment at the risk of your child's health.
3. Opt for toys made with other materials, such as latex or silicone, both of which are resilient, easy to clean and satisfying to sore gums for mouthy.
4. Cut yourself some slack. It's tough fighting the plastic machine. And I've heard from moms all over that their kids want plastic, and only plastic. Fergit those foofy European toys! Sigh. All we can do is try. And try again. When it comes to kids and plastic, Yoda got it wrong ("Do or do not: There is no try"). You're doing a great job.
Laundry Day stringing toy from German toymaker Haba. Waldorf approved and made to stringent EU environmental standards.
US Consumer Product Safety Commission Toy Hazard Recall Page
Parents Magazine Biggest Toy Recalls of 2008
Safe toys are available. This one, made in Vermont of sustainably harvested Vermont maple, and has no finish at all.
If you have any question or further resources, please let me know!