Thanks to an alert from a family in the practice, we are sharing this notice, that a highly popular toy, the Squishies, emit toxic compounds and need to be eliminated from homes.
The Squishies are a soft plastic toy, but the EPA in Denmark found that in every sample of 12 toys they tested, chemicals they found the toys emit are indeed toxic. Most people exposed will come to no harm, but a small proportion may, so why take the risk?
The news item highlights a rather astounding difference in how the EU and the US regulate chemicals.
In the US, there is a presumption that a drug can be harmful, and so the burden of proof rests squarely with the drug company to prove it is not harmful before they can sell it.
But in the US, there is no assumption one way or the other regarding whether a chemical might be harmful, and so the burden of proof for non-drug chemicals rests entirely on the individual. This means a non-drug chemical manufacturer can manufacture at will with no burden to prove the product is safe. The onus of finding out if a chemical is toxic rests entirely on the public, and even once that harm is proven, it’s the devil to get industry to comply. Just last week, a chemical known to terribly poison brains at all ages was allowed to be emitted by coal burning plants at significantly higher levels, mercury.
Now, in the EU, the same presumption that drugs have, namely, they are all toxic until proven safe, pertains to all chemicals. It’s called the precautionary rule. And so no manufacturer of any product may sell any product that exposes the public to a chemical, until that chemical is proven to be safe.
This is why Denmark was able to take the squishy toys off the market, and why that will not happen here, very likely ever.
But these chemicals are toxic, time to say good bye to the Squishies.
- There is a very popular soft plastic toy called the Squishies that turns out to have very toxic chemicals evaporating from it.
- In the US, policies that might protect us from harm from chemicals are quite weak, except for the instance of manufacture of prescription drugs where proof of safety must precede sale. But not so for any other chemical.
- In the EU, all chemicals must prove that they are safe before they are sold or exposed to the public. This is why it was Denmark, not the US that discovered this toy emits poisonous chemicals and took them off their market.
- The chemicals the toy emits are very toxic, but three points of reassurance. The amount of chemical they release is low. Most people exposed to the toxins will not come to harm. Once the toxins are removed, the body is very, very likely to recover fully from the exposure.
And so, we recommend throwing away your Squishies, why take a chance?
And, we recommend our nation adopt the stance that manufacturers should prove a chemical they make is safe before they are permitted to expose all of us to it.
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin