Most helpful critical review
284 of 339 people found the following review helpful
This Toy Stinks
on December 31, 2010
We received this set as a Christmas present for our almost-five year old daughter. She actually already has another variation of it, but this one has two dolls and more outfits and so she was immediately taken in. So were the rest of us - by the intense sinus-burning odor of VOCs, presumably formaldehyde.
Melissa and Doug call their toys 'wood', but the majority are made of MDF - which is only wood in the loosest possible sense. It consists mostly of resin, and sawdust (enter the term wood). These are manufactured in China, and as the Melissa and Doug reps have told me in the past when I've questioned the smells their toys emit, there are no regulations on the amount of formaldehyde and other VOCs in their toys - or as they spin it in a positive light, "Our toys go through rigorous testing and meet all CPSC regualtions." There are no CPSC regulations on formaldehyde in pressed-wood products, like those made by Melissa & Doug.
In my experience, formaldehyde can cause lightheadedness and confusion, as well as sensations of burning in the eyes, nose and throat. This toy is no exception. The smell was so strong, I could detect its presence from clear on the other side of the room.
So what if your kids are exposed to a little formaldehyde, right? And if it were only a little, sure - I suppose (though I don't think it should be in their toys). But it's in virtually everything, from clothing and bedding to shampoos and soaps and baby wipes to *any* pressed wood furniture, household cabinetry, and the list goes on and on.
My children developed a clear sensitivity to it early on in their lives, when they began experiencing chemical-induced eczema from their clothing (imagine the thrill of locating formaldehyde-free clothing). So my gripe with this toy is rather personal. It's very clearly made of a poison and one that can have nasty consequences with prolonged exposure. Permanent damage to lung tissue and eventually, cancer can be long-term side effects.
So, while I understand that people wanting to bury their head in the sand will rush to click 'unhelpful' I think it's worthwhile to reach just a few people out there who believe their kids deserve better and that manufacturing toxic junk for our children is a practice that will only stop when the toxicity of these ingredients are exposed to the general public and the consumers put down their foot and say these business practices are unacceptable.
Perhaps if we all worked to make this information part of the 'general knowledge' like lead paint and BPA, well-intentioned relatives wouldn't usher these toxins into our homes.