Plastic Chemical Linked to Asthma

The chemical compounds that keep our leftovers fresh, our floors easy to clean and our toys easy to sanitize may be a factor in the rising levels of asthma and allergies in children around the world for the last 30 years. An extensive study of Swedish children found that house dust containing the softeners in plastic that give flexibility to toys, vinyl floor tiles and cling wrap is associated with a higher rate of asthma. The study was published in the October edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. The author of the report, Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, of the Swedish National Testing and Research, states while the study might not call for the elimination of these materials totally in our environment, it does call for serious and rapid research to confirm the findings.

The compounds studied, called phthalates (thall ates), are widely used in both the toy industry and in building products such as polyvinyl chloride flooring such as the vinyl composition floor tiles (VCT) used in most child care centers. Since 1999, some American manufacturers of baby toys such as Arco Toys, Chicco, Disney, Evenflo, The First Years, Gerber, Hasbro(Playschool), Little Tykes, Mattel(Fisher-Price), Safety 1st, Sassy, Shelcore Toys and Tyco Preschool have stopped using phthalates in baby teethers. If you are concerned about these chemicals, discard any soft plastic toys made before 1999 if the ingredients are unknown. If you would like to consider more natural flooring than VCT tiles that is cost effect and suitable for child care, you can consider linoleum or the more natural brand called Marmoleum that is made from 100% natural raw materials.