(WXYZ) – When you buy products, you can often tell they’re brand new by the smell. Pool toys often have a distinctive odor so a research team in Germany purchased several items to see if the smells were linked to potentially hazardous substances. Odors were extracted from the products and identified using sensory and analytical approaches. Between 32 and 46 odors were found in each of the samples, with 13 smelling quite intense.
The study identified odor-active organic solvents like cyclohexanone, isophorone, and phenol
If cyclohexanone is inhaled it can be harmful. Isophorone is possibly carcinogenic and is known to cause eye, nose and throat irritation. Long-term exposure can include dizziness, fatigue, and depression. Phenol is quite toxic and long-term exposure can result in blood and liver effects, anorexia, progressive weight loss, diarrhea, and vertigo.
Unfortunately, there are toxic substances found in toys all around the world – some have potentially hazardous chemicals that could pose a risk to your children’s health. Here’s what you can do:
1. Before buying any pool toys, use your nose first. If it has a strong offending chemical odor or smells like a vinyl shower curtain, don’t buy it.
2. Choose toys made of safer, natural materials like solid wood, organic cotton, wool or natural rubber.
3. Avoid soft plastic toys made before 2009. They are more likely to contain phthalates, which are known to cause health issues like liver and kidney damage.
4. Look up toys online at Ecocenter.org/healthy-stuff. They test and rate thousands of children’s products for chemicals. You can search by product name or the UPC code.
The researchers tested an inflatable beach ball, a pair of swimming armbands and two bathing rings. Here in the U.S. an Americana Beach Ball, blue flip-flops, water shoes amongst many other toys were rated high for harmful chemicals. You really need to do your research when buying new products.
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Data pulled from WXYZ