A newly published study is shining a light on the worryingly under-scrutinised area of teething toys, finding that a large proportion of those tested contained low-levels of potentially hazardous chemicals, despite being labelled non-toxic.
The study (by Alexandros Asimakopoulos, Madhavan Elangovan and Kurunthachalam Kannan) detailed in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology, sought to discover whether the chemicals used in the manufacture of baby teething aids could leech into a child’s system at harmful levels.
Their findings call into question the way these teethers are manufactured, labelled and regulated.
Researchers analysed 59 different baby teething toys – some solid, some water-filled and some gel-filled.
Not BPA free after all
Despite all the toys claiming to be free of Bisphenol-A (BPA) and non-toxic, every single teether was found to contain BPA. Every single one!
The teethers also contained several other nasties known to be endocrine-disruptoring compounds.
BPA, and the types of other endocrine-disrupting compounds found in the teethers, have been found to interfere with human hormones and may have harmful developmental, reproductive and neurological effects. Their use has been restricted in everyday kid products like drinking cups and baby bottles, across the US and Europe. But there they were in 100 percent of the baby teethers tested. Shudder.
The researchers found that while small amounts of BPA were leeching out of the teething toys, they seemed to be present at levels lower than the European standards for temporary tolerable daily intake levels.
The team were quick to point out, however, that the current standards do not take into account several endocrine-disrupting chemicals being accumulated in baby’s bodies at once.
They also noted that not all the compounds they found in the teethers are regulated at the moment.
Better safe than sorry?
It seems that we just don’t know enough about the impact these cocktails of compounds could be having on our kids and that “non-toxic” or “BPA-free” labels may not be worth the paper they’re printed on.
“The researchers say the findings could be used to develop appropriate policies to protect infants from exposure to potentially toxic chemicals found in teethers.” Science Daily reported.
Up until now, these teething toys have escaped scrutiny, but it seems they are finally getting their moment in the safer-kids spotlight.