Originally Posted by MamaMunchkin
Originally Posted by ~pi:
I was not concerned about this. Exposure levels from mouthing a few toys are not even a blip on the radar of health risks. I mean, compared to issues like air quality, those kinds of risks are ridiculously small, if they exist at all.
Do you have any links by any chance? That would be interesting to see how exposure to phthalate, BPA from mouthing toys in daycare centers compared to other pollutants, for example?
I would like to believe what you said to be true. But then, I'd read something like this:
http://www.center4research.org/2010/04/phthalates-and-childrens-products/ - they only started a few years ago to reduce them in toys - lots of older toys in daycare.
I am not aware of any link that breaks down and compares all of life's health risks. (More's the pity. We might all be a little more rational about comparative risks!) But if you are willing to take a little time to think and do some basic math and logic yourself, just look at any credible health agency's page on air quality (e.g., here is an overview from the World Health Organization). When you look at these and compare, note first, the enormous difference in effect sizes, and second, remember that the diseases whose incidences are increased by poor air quality are far, far more common. This means that air quality has a larger risk multiplier, and it is multiplying a larger number to start with.
The science on phthalates is still very preliminary. Animal models are given massive doses to test for effects. As I understand it (and admittedly, this is not my area of science, but I do know people who are doing research in this area), there's still a lot of conflicting research and question marks. Don't get me wrong; we won't be running out and wrapping our kid in vinyl anytime soon. But phthalates are still in the, 'we think this may be an issue, more research is needed' stage, whereas air quality is much more of a slam dunk, 'this is a definite, known, well-established health issue.'
Also, re: old toys, since phthalates leach out over time, if you're going to play with plastic toys, perhaps older ones are preferable.
I don't know. You seem surprised that others might not share your level of concern. It's worth noting that MDC is a large community and not everyone agrees on every issue. I personally feel that exposure to some plastic during the minority of time a child is at daycare doesn't really stack up compared to a lot of the larger health risks out there. And, really, if your kid has good quality child care, decent nutrition, access to health care, and good education once s/he is a little older, s/he's already well ahead of the vast majority of the world in terms of what s/he can expect for health outcomes.
You may feel differently, and that's OK, but you asked specifically whether others worried about this, so you're going to get some honest answers.
Again, good luck with the transition back to work.