Toronto, ON – With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Environmental Defence is encouraging parents to take a closer look at labels when purchasing presents for their kids. Even if a product looks safe and harmless, it may in fact contain chemicals which could be harmful to their family’s health and the environment.
As part of the manufacturing process, some chemicals are added to toys to make them more durable, or flame retardant. However, kids are exposed to these chemicals when they put the toys into their mouths. Babies are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins since their biological systems are still developing. Therefore, it’s crucial to reduce kids’ exposure to chemicals not only during the holiday season but all year long.
Environmental Defence’s toxics expert, Maggie MacDonald is available for interviews with ideas to help parents buy gifts that are green and healthy for their kids.
She can offer shopping tips in the following areas
Toys: The best way to avoid chemicals in toys is to choose toys that are made from natural materials such as wood, stainless steel and organic cotton. In 2011, Health Canada proposed draft guidelines to keep cadmium out of children’s jewelry. Still, we advise consumers to avoid kids jewelry items made of metal which may contain the toxic substance.
Clothing: avoid wrinkle and stain resistant clothing. As well, avoid clothing that contains flame retardants (PBDEs) – especially in light of recent reports that found these chemicals not only to be ineffective but dangerous. Instead, choose clothes that are made from natural materials such as organic cotton.
Electronics: What kid nowadays doesn’t have something electronic on their wish list? When searching for electronic gifts make sure to choose a manufacturer that has eliminated toxic flame retardants from their products.
Bathroom Stuff: Many personal care products, even some for kids, contain toxic ingredients – some of which have links to cancer, allergies and other health problems. Parents can find a list of the Toxic Ten chemicals to avoid in their kids’ personal care products, by visiting www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicten. Companies like Ontario-based Green Beaver make non-toxic products like bubble bath that are fun and safe for kids.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca