I personally don't think there's anything wrong with them. I buy most of our toys at Goodwill and they are plastic, and it's easy to wipe them down and disinfect. Wooden toys feel very nice and promote the imagination more. It's had to have a battery operated wooden toy! However if they are good quality plastic toys (not junky but somewhat educational and not with shrill noises), why not?
I don't mind some plastic toys. there are actually brands like Brio that I prefer. I definitly prefer wooden toys, but they are spendy and most need to be ordered and also they have not been appropriate for ds until recently. (he would end up bopping himself in the head with the wood rattle)
I may be wrong, but I think the real concern for most parents is the toxicity of plastic toys.
We have both types of toys for Ds who is 11months. I like the plastic because as said before they can be cleaned & you can buy used a lot cheaper than new. We comb garage sales & thrift stores for them. A lot of plastic toys do need batteries & make noises (which can be quite annoying) but we opt to leave the batteries out. I like wood also, plain blocks right now. For me & ds right now it seems that plain household items- whether wood or plastic- fascinate ds the most, spoons, containers, cans, bowls, towels.
I do think the "plain" toys whether wood or plastic foster imaginative play more.
plastics contain toxins. I'm sure I'll butcher the spelling, but google for pthalates and you'll see all sorts of horrible effects from too much exposure to certain chemicals. PVC (#3 plastic) contains dioxins, which are the most toxic substance known to man (aka "agent orange"). Dioxins have been substantially linked to all sorts of hormonal disorders, including endometriosis. I could go on and on, but I'm sure it's all been said before somewhere around here if you do some searching.
Plastic contains carcinogens, hormone-altering chemicals, chemicals that can cause allergic reactions such as breathing difficulties, and who knows what else, because the industry isn't regulated. We are not informed of which chemicals are present in which plastics. The only way to play it safe is to avoid them all. Children are especially susceptible to the toxic chemicals found in plastic.
I try to stay away from plastic in general. Plastic is not a renewable resource...wood is. That being said...it's not the plastic that really bothers me. Maybe some others feel this way too. I don't mind the plastic stacking rings or ds's colorful plastic cups, etc. It's the noisy, flashing lights, imitation cell phones, etc. that bugg me to no end.
I LOVE wood toys but I can't imagine a laundry basket on the floor with nothing but wood in it. Some variety is good. Plastic isn't the issue for me...CRAP is the issue here!