Playing with Plastic

Sand toy flags found on North County San Diego beaches

Sand toys found on the beach make fun designs, but plastic toys can be harmful to children.

According to new research from the Technical University of Denmark, “Out of 419 chemicals found in hard, soft, and foam plastic materials used in children toys, we identified 126 substances that can potentially harm children’s health either via cancer or non-cancer effects, including 31 plasticisers, 18 flame retardants, and 8 fragrances.” In short, plastic not only pollutes the planet, the chemicals are poisonous to people, especially children.

Plastic shovel handles found on North County San Diego beaches

In the report, researchers highlight “that an efficient and practical way to reduce exposure to priority chemicals present in plastic toys is to reduce the amount of new toys introduced into our households every year. This is also supported by a recent study showing that the quality of…play is negatively influence by the abundance of toys, and that fewer toys may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively.”

As summer approaches, think about choosing sustainable and healthy options for beach play. A metal bucket and spade used for gardening will last longer than plastic sand toys and will have fewer environmental and health impacts. For a list of alternatives, read 12 Amazing Plastic-Free Toys for Summer.

Plastic shovel scoops found on North County San Diego beaches

Better yet, enjoy a day at the beach without toys of any kind. Build hand-formed castles and use natural materials to decorate; reimagine sea kelp as giant sea monsters; skip beach stones across the water; or simply splash in the waves. Read Study Underscores Why Fewer Toys is the Better Option.

For an article that summarizes plastic toy risks, read Huge, Global Study of Plastic Toys Finds Over 100 Substances That May Harm Children and for the full report, visit Chemicals of Concern in Plastic Toys.

This entry was posted in Art, Education, Marine debris, Plastic debris, Play, Sand toys and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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