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What’s so wrong with Plastic Toys?

What's so wrong with Plastic Toys?

I set up FairKind Child soon after having my son and finding it so hard to buy ethical, unique toys that are good for the environment. When I mention that I don’t supply plastics I am sometimes asked why – “What’s so wrong with plastic toys?” There are some good toys out there, such as construction toys, that are made from plastic. It can sometimes be hard to resist them. Thankfully more and more alternatives are being produced. I select my stock based on it’s impact to the people and communities that produce them, as well as the world and the child that plays with them.

Here are a few reasons why I choose not to supply Plastic to children.


The most obvious many broken toys are sent to landfull each day because they cannot be recycled. The only way is to dismantle them into their material parts e.g. remove the metal bits, fabric bits etc. If they are still working you can offer them to a charity.

plastic landfill

Phthalates: What are phthalates?

Have you seen the sign “BPA Free” on baby’s bottles and other plastic items? BPA is a Phthalate. Phthalates are added to plastic to strengthen it. They have been identified as responsible for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development..and if that wasn’t enough – male fertility issues!!
As more and more is known about these groups of chemicals, each Phthalate is identified to cause health problems. Pregnant women and young children are more at risk.

Initally it was DEHP, which was replaced with DiNP only to find that DiNP is linked to male genital birth defects and impaired reproductive function in adult males.

Once BPA was identified as a health risk it was replaced with bisphenol S (BPS). Unfortunately now BPS has been around long enough for health effects to emerge. As these new chemicals are produced, there is insufficient information to identify their hazards over long periods.

HOWEVER, Cotton, Wood, Wool and other natural materials that have been around for centuries, are natural materials that have been tested for generations, so we know these materials are safe and long lasting for children’s products.

The images below show data relating to content of Phthalates in toys intended for children 3 or under.

Phthalates Risks in Children's Toys Quality issues

Unfortunately a number of companies do not comply with the necessary Regulations when exporting to the EU. This means that some high street toys are also subject to health risks. (Data taken from Prosafe website)
70% of the world’s toys are manufactured in China. There is nothing wrong with buying from China. Some tribes are fair trade and produce excellent toys. However when buying mass-produced plastic toys from China, you can never be sure of the production quality.

CE-vs-C-EMore so, China has produced their own verion of the CE mark and named it the China Export mark!! Try to become familiar with the differences between this and the real mark which has larger spacing in between – it’s tough to spot!

Here are some more statistics from Prosafe – a Non-Profit organisation that seeks to strengthen safety in products sold throuought the EEA.

Sadly toys that were least compliant with the legal CE toy Regulations were Rattles and Push along toys (‘O’ is Other).
You can see these statistics in more detail at