Can someone explain the plastic aversion..... - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have noticed alot of moms here have an aversion to their kids owning plastic toys.  I really don't understand, where does that come from?  Is there a health issue that I don't know about?  I like wooden toys, the kids like them, but they also like some of their plastic toys.  DS has a collection of matchbox cars.  DD has her ponies that she loves.  These are toys of their choice, and we seriously limit how many noisy toys they can have, but I don't understand the aversion that I see some people have towards plastic toys.  I'm just curious.  Mine are outgrowing "toys" as it is, so it's not really an issue for us, but dd and ds (the youngest) still have their little things.  I'm hoping dd will be growing out of hers soon.  The older boys are well past the "toy" phase and do more reading, riding bikes, etc. than anything else. 

 

Anyway, just curious as to where the problem with plastic is coming from.


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Old 12-28-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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One very concrete reason is that small children like to put toys in their mouths, and many plastics have nasty chemicals in them that aren't good for anyone.

 

I don't know this for a fact but I imagine less damage is done to the environment when alphabet blocks, for example, are made from wood instead of plastic.  That's probably a mater for some debate, though. 

 

It's nice to support someone's handmade toy business, which generally doesn't include a lot of plastics.  Like cloth dolls and wooden toys. 

 

I preferred color pencils over crayons for my kids, simply because I like the look. 

 

It definitely can be romanticized and it's not always rational.  There's a degree of snobbery: I felt vaguely superior to my SIL because I made a point of eschewing plastic toys for 'real' materials.  I think she single handedly kept the local Toys R Us in business when her kids were little. 


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Old 12-28-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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Wow, Matchbox cars are plastic now?  They were metal when I was a kid.

 

Plastic is forever.  It might be recycled but its not ever, ever going away.  I think that cheap, temporary toys are an awful waste of a material that cannot biodegrade.  So environmentally I find plastic to be awful.

 

Not to mention many plastic toys are electronic, and I find most electronic toys to be about as worthwhile as an icepick lobotomy.

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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Some plastics leach phthalates, both into your child's mouth if they still put toys in their mouths, and into the environment if they're outside. So there's that. Phthalates are used to make plastic more flexible and can disrupt normal functioning of the endocrine system. Some companies are moving toward phthalate-free materials, but there are still a lot of plastic toys out there that leach phthalates as they go through temperature changes or just as they age.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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We use safe plastics like Legos and Playmobil.

We started out on the "natural" trend with toys made of wood, cloth, wool, etc., but the kids didn't like the toys. You just can't get detail with those things, and my kids are detail people. Dd was about as interested in her wooden dollhouse as she would have been with a rock. eyesroll.gif She never developed any love for her waldorf dolls because they didn't look real. Ds ignored his wooden tools and preferred playing with Daddy's genuine ones. And blocks just sat around ignored.

It was pretty sad, and we gave up. No sense investing all that money into pretty natural toys when they'd be neglected, so we instead put our money into good, safe plastic stuff.

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anastasiya View Post

Dd was about as interested in her wooden dollhouse as she would have been with a rock. eyesroll.gif
 


But rocks are one of my DS's favorite things!!! orngbiggrin.gif lol

 

I will say ditto to all the pp's reasons. They contain chemicals that I don't want in my house. They are generally not well-made, break too easily, and then you're left with a hunk of plastic that will never go away. They are ugly (yes, this is seriously one of my reasons!) and the shininess & colors seem to over-stimulate my DS. They are often single-purpose & leave less room for the imagination. They can be loud & obnoxious, and many contain commercial characters I don't want DS exposed to. They are rarely made in the U.S.

 

This will probably sound really weird but I feel like DS is one step closer to nature if, when he has to be indoors (which unfortunately is most of the day), he can at least be playing with wood. From trees. From nature. Irrational I guess but oh well.

 

I don't eschew ALL plastic toys, and I think they can be great for baths/sandbox/etc. when wood toys just wouldn't hold up as well. But in general we prefer to avoid them.


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Old 12-28-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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They bother me on an environmental level and an aesthetic one.  It's usually (always?) made from oil so it's just not the best use of finite natural resources, imo.  So many toys are made to be almost disposable.  You can't replace parts.  They aren't well made.  They don't biodegrade.  They are marketed with spin off tv shows.  Then the next hot toy comes along and the old ones are no longer desirable.

 

I think plastic is great when used with less abandon.  It's a great material for being washable and lightweight.  And we do love our legos and it's the rare small individual piece that breaks.  The "whole thing" isn't trash as a result of one piece breaking.  Ds is playing with his father's and uncle's 30 year old legos in addition to new ones.  They haven't gone out of fashion and I don't think they ever will.   


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Old 12-28-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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I'm much more interested in play value, now that my kids are past the 'put it in the mouth stage'. Cheap plastic toys drive me batty. They break too easily and they often don't have good play value. High quality plastic toys (Playmobil, Lego, Bruder trucks) have a place in my home. But then, some wooden toys don't have great play value either (wooden fire trucks were a non-starter for ds -- not realistic enough).

 

I deal with the resource issues by buying a lot of things used (Ebay is my friend) and by reselling/donating things that are resellable. Most of the playmobil and bruder stuff is. All of the lego stuff is because my kids just weren't that into it.

 


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Old 12-30-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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Cheap toys in general tend to break easily, though.  shrug.gif  (See also: pretty much every Melissa and Doug toy we've ever owned.)

 

I think a lot of it is aesthetics, really.  Before I had children I had a lot of big idea on the kinds of products my children would and would not be exposed to, and what it really came down to was what I wanted my home to look like.  (And then it turned out that I'm more of a lazy person than I am an aesthete, and more of a secondhand shopper than firsthand, so for ease of cleaning and just plain variety of choice plastic has been winning out more and more in my household now that my kids have aged up into slides and kitchens and trains and things.)

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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We try to buy toys that are of heirloom quality, and most plastic toys that I've found just aren't. There are exceptions, as people have noted above, but for the most part the plastic toys I've handled have been breakable and cheap, of dubious manufacturing quality and safety, and unbelievably ugly. I'm not ashamed to say that the ugly factor of most plastic toys is a huge reason I don't want them littering my house.

And since we also avoid commercial character franchises like the plague, sticking to non-branded wooden toys makes life easier.

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Old 12-30-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anastasiya View Post

 



We use safe plastics like Legos and Playmobil.

We started out on the "natural" trend with toys made of wood, cloth, wool, etc., but the kids didn't like the toys. You just can't get detail with those things, and my kids are detail people. Dd was about as interested in her wooden dollhouse as she would have been with a rock. eyesroll.gif She never developed any love for her waldorf dolls because they didn't look real. Ds ignored his wooden tools and preferred playing with Daddy's genuine ones. And blocks just sat around ignored.

It was pretty sad, and we gave up. No sense investing all that money into pretty natural toys when they'd be neglected, so we instead put our money into good, safe plastic stuff.
 


Us too. I had high ideals starting out, but the only wooden toys my kids will play with are the blocks and puzzles.Legos and polly pocket and dinosaurs get hours and hours of playtime here. I do try to keep the cheap ones out of the house, though. But we have a huge extended family that loves to gift my kids with plastic toys, and I'm not about to let a kid get excited while unwrapping a bday gift, and then say, No, you can't play with that. The commercial character toys generally get ignored after a couple play sessions, and then I send them down the road to Goodwill. :)


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Old 12-30-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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I think in our house we don't have so much a plastic aversion as much as an aversion to crap toys, oh and battery toys that do everything for you.

 

IF the toys are safe and from a proven safe company and are well made then I don't have an issue with plastic that is durable and will last (like your Lego's though not yet for ds)

 

The crappy one step and its over toys don't make it past the door. Battery toys except for a few (drop and roll dino and gumball machine) are all returned...although Dh did make me keep a really really annoying toy drum that DS doesn't play with because his brother bought it for DS.

 

I'd prefer wooden toys, but realistically...I buy mostly used (few wooden toys sold second hand around here) and wooden is expensive new, we do have some wooden toys and would like more.

 

Currently I'm working on felt food for DS, I really don't like the plastic fake food and I know it will take a while before he's ready and its going to take a while to make some.


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Old 01-12-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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All plastic, unless otherwise stated, is made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource which is damaging to the environment(oil spills), and it does not decompose when thrown away, which half the time it ends up in the ocean or on a roadside.

 

Here is a link that says a little about plastics  http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Safe-Plastics-Endocrine-Disruptors-BPA.aspx?page=5

 

Plastics are all made using chemicals, some more toxic than others.  #3 plastic aka vinyl aka PVC is probably the worst.  It contains phthalates which is an estrogen mimic and cancer causing agent, as well as the fact it is made using chlorine bleach(very toxic to people and environment), lead, cadmium, and other toxic materials.  #7 plastic is the "catch all" number for all plastics that do not fit under #1-6.  One plastic that is a #7 is Polycarbonate(PC), which contains BPA which is an estrogen mimic and cancer cauing agent.  #6 aka polystyrene aka PS is cancer causing.  Toys are often made of these plastics.  Plastics are often also treated with brominated flame retardants, which are estrogen mimics and cancer causing also, except this stays in the system much longer than the others.  Here is a little more info   http://www.toxictoysrus.com/documents/Toxic-Toys-Report_11.17.10.pdf

 

BPA is also found in cash register receipts, dental sealants, and it lines all metal containers that hold food.  Be careful!  Look up more information on ewg.org      good luck 

 h

 

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Old 01-12-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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I'm middle of the road.  I'm not opposed to plastic toys.  My daughter had her plastic toys and loved them dearly.  She had a pony obsession for several years.  

 

I have a daycare, and have quite a few little tykes plastic climbers.  I'm considering replacing the plastic Little Tykes picnic table.  But, it's hard... that darn thing is 25 years old and still holds up.  As soon as it's unusable, I'll replace it with a preschool table and chairs.  But, those are partially plastic.

 

I had a wooden kitchen.  They destroyed it in less than three months.  So, I wouldn't do that again.  

 

I'd love to have more wood.  But, it doesn't hold up.  I'd love to have a backyard full of big climbing rocks and wooden bridges, and a dirt pit.  But, my husband would divorce me.  So, I'm on the fence.  A little plastic, a little wood, and it works for us.

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Old 01-12-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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We have some very nice wooden toys, but then Mr. Potato Head is a favorite here.  I get things I think my kids will like, as it's about them and not me, though I'll admit that I try to avoid things with lights and music.  I can't stand listenting to that.  Others have bought them but luckily not many.  I don't take them away though.  As soon as they break I throw them out.

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Old 01-12-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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I also don't have a problem with plastic toys... and I do have to admit I feel a little snobbery when I hear about wood toys only. I do try to limit battery toys, because I feel like they 'occupy' my son too much instead of him interacting with them. Also, they break easier and are expensive. And they drive me up a wall. My opinions on that are changing as he gets a bit older and can do more than stare at things.

 

As far as environmental impact.... I try to do my best to keep the # of toys down to a minimum, and buy used when possible. We also repurpose a lot of things as toys-- an old purse and wallet, small pots and pans, empty cartons, cardboard boxes etc.

 

I would like to use the library more often, but my son can't be trusted around borrowed books yet.


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Old 01-12-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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This pretty much sums up my thinking too:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I'm much more interested in play value, now that my kids are past the 'put it in the mouth stage'. Cheap plastic toys drive me batty. They break too easily and they often don't have good play value. High quality plastic toys (Playmobil, Lego, Bruder trucks) have a place in my home. But then, some wooden toys don't have great play value either (wooden fire trucks were a non-starter for ds -- not realistic enough).

 

I deal with the resource issues by buying a lot of things used (Ebay is my friend) and by reselling/donating things that are resellable. Most of the playmobil and bruder stuff is. All of the lego stuff is because my kids just weren't that into it.

 




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Old 01-12-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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All plastic, unless otherwise stated, is made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource which is damaging to the environment(oil spills), and it does not decompose when thrown away, which half the time it ends up in the ocean or on a roadside.

 

Here is a link that says a little about plastics  http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Safe-Plastics-Endocrine-Disruptors-BPA.aspx?page=5

 

Plastics are all made using chemicals, some more toxic than others.  #3 plastic aka vinyl aka PVC is probably the worst.  It contains phthalates which is an estrogen mimic and cancer causing agent, as well as the fact it is made using chlorine bleach(very toxic to people and environment), lead, cadmium, and other toxic materials.  #7 plastic is the "catch all" number for all plastics that do not fit under #1-6.  One plastic that is a #7 is Polycarbonate(PC), which contains BPA which is an estrogen mimic and cancer cauing agent.  #6 aka polystyrene aka PS is cancer causing.  Toys are often made of these plastics.  Plastics are often also treated with brominated flame retardants, which are estrogen mimics and cancer causing also, except this stays in the system much longer than the others.  Here is a little more info   http://www.toxictoysrus.com/documents/Toxic-Toys-Report_11.17.10.pdf

 

BPA is also found in cash register receipts, dental sealants, and it lines all metal containers that hold food.  Be careful!  Look up more information on ewg.org      good luck 

 h

 



PVC, as in the pipes that modern homes are fitted with?  That is scary to think that homes are full of this stuff if it's a cancer causing agent.


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Old 01-12-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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Quote:
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PVC, as in the pipes that modern homes are fitted with?  That is scary to think that homes are full of this stuff if it's a cancer causing agent.


http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/news/how-to-find-and-avoid-toxic-vi/

 

 

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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Yes that is correct, PVC as in the pipes that deliver all of your water to your home, the stuff that windows, flooring, etc is made of.  UGH!  I cant believe its even legal.  That link that momofmine posted is excellent, thank you!

I agree that plastic toys are also usually made cheaper and break more easily, especially modern ones.  Now, plastic toys that were built 25 years ago probably contain more dangerous plastics than to modern ones, but are probably built better because it seems like that is how it is these days- the old stuff outlasts the crappy cheap new stuff, usually lol.

 

I think it depends on what the wood toy will be used for.  I know some daycare children are pretty rough on things and they dont care because it is not their own, if it was their own they would treat it a lot better, especially if their parents taught them to.  I admit I have plastic toys also, but I do write to the manufacturer and ask what types of plastic and if it is free of phthalates, BPA, chlorine, lead, formaldehyde and PBDE's.

 

Did I mention off-gassing?  ANYTHING made with chemicals such as those derived from petroleum, off-gas, which is breathed in and absorbed through the skin.  It is a good idea to research the things your children and you are exposed to.  Better to be safe than sorry.

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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I have a problem with the environmental aspect, the health aspect, the 'feel' of it (especially dolls) and I really don't like that when plastic breaks, it's just broken. We have a lot of plastic toys now, some are great quality and some are total junk.  It's hard to define 'junky toys' so it's easier to ask for no plastic.


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