Statement from Environmental Defence’s Maggie MacDonald on BPA, triclosan, parabens found in teething toys

TORONTO, ON – A study released today in the journal Environmental Science and Technology tested plastic teething toys and found that toxic BPA, parabens and triclosan can leach from toys into babies mouths.

The study found the endocrine- or hormone-disrupting chemical BPA in all 59 tested baby teething toys, even those labelled BPA-free. Triclosan, another known endocrine disruptor, was detected in many of the tested products.

These endocrine disruptors can impact human hormones at very low doses, and chronic exposures to low levels have been linked to numerous health problems, including neurodevelopmental and behavioural problems. Children and infants are more vulnerable to the effects of exposure than adults.

Last year, a study from Statistics Canada found that BPA is linked to behavioural problems in children, including decreased pro-social behaviour such as sharing. BPA has also been linked to breast and prostate cancer and risk factors for diabetes. Triclosan can affect human thyroid hormone levels; thyroid hormones play a key role in brain development and maturation.

According to the federal government, both of these chemicals are toxic. But they are not banned from use in these items. Triclosan is not banned, and BPA is only banned from baby bottles. Health Canada must take action to prevent toxic chemicals from being used in children’s teethers and soothers, and assess the scale of the problem in Canada.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact

Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 647-468-3641 (cell);