Understanding Toxins in Toys

With all of the television coverage on the dangers of lead in toys lately, many Americans are speaking out against Chinese made toys. The fact is that China is not the only country creating lead-filled toys. In fact, toys that are made in the United States are just as likely to contain toxic levels of lead as well as other dangerous ingredients.

Many Americans believe that toys made in the United States are safe, but most products labeled as made in the USA are not actually made in the United States. A toy or other product does not need to be made in the USA, only finished or packaged here in order to be labeled “Made in the USA.” Most of our products are made in other countries and labeled as made in the USA because they have been assembled here or stamped with a logo. The pieces are usually made in other countries where labor is cheaper.

Toxins in Toys

Wooden toys also may not be safe. Many wooden toys are painted with paints that contain lead or are varnished with toxic varnishes. Wooden toys may be carcinogenic if treated in any way. Natural wooden toys are the safest because they have not been treated or painted. If you choose wooden toys, it is important to know that the only toys considered safe are toys made in Europe, specifically Germany and Switzerland where strict laws and high standards ensure the quality and safety of their toys.


Plastic toys also contain high levels of toxins, especially soft plastic toys. High levels of lead, phthalates, and bisphenols leach from plastics as they age and are absorbed through the skin during play as well as the mouth if children suck or chew on these items. These carcinogens remain in the body for life and build up over the years, causing brain damage, cancer, and other disease. To date, no plastic toys are considered safe. Plush and cloth toys are not always safe. The cloth and filling are often made from plastics such as rayon, polyester, and acrylic. It’s best to avoid plastic toys, especially for children who are still sucking or chewing on their toys, go to website.

Safe alternative toys include handmade toys from wool, cotton, untreated woods and non-toxic acrylic paints. Glass toys such as marbles are also toxin-free. Be wary of metal toys and plastics of any kind.