Chemicals and toys
The SAICM Secretariat, in partnership with the University of Cape Town, established a community of practice on Chemicals in Products to bring representatives from different sectors together and to create a learning network around issues related to addressing Chemicals in Products (CiP). This is a summary of the discussion on Chemicals and toys, which took place on 17 June 2021.
Presenters: Olga Speranskaya (HEJSupport), Varuzhan Gyurjyan (Mankan LLC), Gohar Khojayan (AWHHE), Thony Dizon (EcoWaste Coalition), Ram Charitra Sah (CEPHED)
This SAICM/UCT discussion of the Chemicals in Products Community of Practice (CiP CoP) was focused on “Chemicals in Toys”. Children absorb pollutants through the mouth, skin and by breathing them in. Since children have a larger hand-to-mouth activity and faster breathing, they absorb more pollutants than adults compared to their body weight. An important way for toxic chemicals to enter a child's body is through toys. Many studies have revealed chemicals of concern in toys purchased in different countries and regions such as heavy metals, endocrine disrupting chemicals and persistent organic pollutants that can have a harmful effect on children’s health. However, few regulatory systems are set up to inform on what is in such products. Regulations on chemicals in toys in many countries are not advanced or enforced, and many countries lack approaches to ensure transparency for chemicals in toys within and outside the supply chains. The global toy market is growing rapidly and is expected to be worth $131 billion by 2025. The absence or lack of information about toxic chemicals in toys on product labels raises concerns about the environmental effects of toxic toys, especially when products are discarded, dumped in landfills, or disposed of by open burning or incineration. Toxic chemicals in toys can be released into the environment, causing pollution, and affecting health. Therefore, the aim of this discussion was to understand problems in disclosing chemicals of concern in toys; and suggestions were made for improving regulations and transparency of chemical information in the toy sector to ensure toys are safe for children and the environment.