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Proceed with caution!!!! Made from PVC!
on October 8, 2010
It's infuriating and misleading that these balls are marketed as "phthalate-free." That may be true, but it does NOT mean they are safe! They are made of PVC, a super toxic plastic that off-gases dangerous fumes and releases potentially carcinogenic chemicals! I don't know about you, but I do not want my baby chewing on that!
I had my suspicions about this product's safety when I noticed that the balls have that beach ball "smell." I checked, and, sure enough, discovered the PVC.
It's such a shame that a mother must do detective work in order to confirm the safety of her child's toys!
If you read the comments for this review, you will see a response from the manufacturer which states that the balls are in fact made with PVC, but that the PVC is "phthalate-free."
After a brief internet search, I discovered that phthalate-free vinyl (PVC, #3) is a small step in the right direction-- but that does not mean that PVC itself is safe. The vinyl chloride used to make PVC is a known carcinogen. Furthermore, the manufacturing process creates and releases dioxins that can be dangerous to factory workers manufacturing the PVC and harmful to the environment. I encourage you to type the phrases "phthalate-free PVC," "PVC," and/or "vinyl chloride" into your search engine of choice. It is quite easy to find information about the safety of PVC and its manufacturing process.
While I do not have the means to test this product for toxicity (and therefore cannot say with 100% certainty that the balls could cause direct harm to children), I stand by my decision to avoid the product due to what I learned about the chemical components and manufacturing process for PVC-- whether it contains phthalates or not. I hope the manufacturer will consider a natural rubber or silicone alternative to these balls, because I would gladly purchase them.
To close, I'd like to respond to a few commenters who have attacked my desire to protect my children from toxins. First, I think it's a shame to attack a mother who is trying to act in the best interest of her children... especially when your attack includes narrow-minded remarks about my being from California. If these comments actually reflect your world view, I feel sorry for you, and I forgive you. It's also apparent that you do not know the facts. I encourage you to read up on this topic! The Environmental Working Group is a great resource and provides links to the research that backs up the organization's claims. Sadly, many people have no idea that everyday products (toys, household cleaners, toiletries, etc.) can contain alarming levels of contaminants and chemicals that are KNOWN to be harmful to humans (proven carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, etc.) and/or the environment. Some products even contain chemicals that have been banned in Europe and Japan due to their known toxicity.
Yes, it's impossible to avoid ALL toxins... even I admit that! But that fact should not excuse us from caring. It's impossible to completely protect children from injury, but does that mean that people who childproof their homes are paranoid California hippies? Certainly not.
It is my hope that more parents will voice their preference for non-toxic products, and that companies will respond to the rising demand. Until then, I'll be happy to clean my home with vinegar, purchase wooden toys, use body products with a low toxicity rating (btw, there is an authoritative and credible internet database with these ratings), and live with the "California hippie" accusations! You call this behavior "paranoid," but I call it "smart," "fact-based," "intentional." It is borne out of my love for my children, my body, and our planet.