The plastic in secondhand toys may not meet current international safety guidelines and could pose a health risk to children, say researchers at the University of Plymouth in England whose new study was published in Environmental Science and Technology.
For this study, the researchers used X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to analyze 200 used plastic toys, including cars, trains, building blocks, figures, puzzles, and others found in homes, preschools, and secondhand shops. All of the toys were the right size for young children to chew on or put in their mouths.
Many of the products – typically those that were yellow, red, or black – contained high concentrations of hazardous elements that can be toxic to children over an extended period, even at low levels. These elements included antimony, barium, bromine, cadmium, chromium, lead, and selenium.