Dangerous pollutants in wooden toys

Stiftung Warentest detects health-endangering substances in wooden toys for children

Wooden toys enjoy a good reputation with many parents as supposedly natural. However, various pollutants have been found in wooden toys several times in the past. In a current study, "more than half contained dangerous substances - in lacquer, plywood or cords," according to the Stiftung Warentest report.

The testers had examined 30 wooden toys for children aged up to three years for contaminants and possible risks from small parts that could be swallowed. The result is sobering: only eight products were rated as “good” and six as “satisfactory”. Seven wooden toys received a "poor" rating. According to the Stiftung Warentest, several toys shouldn't have been sold.

Children take up dangerous substances Possible risks for children when playing with wooden toys are due to soluble small parts that could be swallowed. On the other hand, the pollutants contained pose a long-term health risk, since children inhale the dangerous substances and absorb them through the mouth and skin "while they suck, nibble or just touch the toy," reports the Stiftung Warentest. Small parts that could be swallowed and in which, in the worst case, children could suffocate, have become detached from two tested wooden toys. "The motor skills game pond and the wagon jewelry clown on the ring of the company Hess from Saxony expose children to this direct danger," said the Stiftung Warentest. According to the testers, both products should not have been sold in this form. The testers detected harmful substances that can damage genes, reproductive capacity and cancer in the long term "in paints, rivets, cords or in plywood" of the toys, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), nickel, nitrosable substances, Organotin compounds and formaldehyde have been found.

Parents should pay attention to the seal of approval for wooden toys. According to the Stiftung Warentest, the varnishes of the wooden toys tested were particularly contaminated. For example, “carcinogenic chrysene, a PAK, was found in the green varnish of the wood frog from New Classic Toys”. The red string of the frog also contained carcinogenic benzidine, which is actually banned in the EU. "The frog is not marketable," said the testers. Three out of four wooden trains in the test were “defective due to critical findings.” In some puzzles, the plywood panels also released higher amounts of formaldehyde. However, the test also showed that it is possible to "produce toys that do not endanger children's health," according to the Stiftung Warentest. The manufacturers are particularly challenged here. The testers advise the parents to preferably use toys with a seal of approval. For example, independent institutes award the "GS mark for tested safety", which places higher demands on the products and offers more protection than a "CE mark". However, according to the Stiftung Warentest, only five of the 30 toys tested had a GS mark, with three of them "good", one each "satisfactory" and one "sufficient". (fp)

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