Toxins, Carcinogens Found In More Than 5,000 Children’s Products


Toxic metals like cadmium, mercury and antimony and organic compounds like phthalates are among more than 41 chemicals identified as harmful to children that are found in more than 5,000 children’s products, according to reports filed with the Washington State Department of Ecology. The toxins are linked to cancer, hormone disruption and reproductive problems.

Major manufacturers who reported using these chemicals include Wal-Mart, Gap, Gymboree, Hallmark and H&M. Some of these lobbied hard to defeat a Washington State bill, the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, that would have required manufacturers to stop using flame retardants in children’s products and find safer ways of manufacturing products for children.

The Washington Toxics Coalition analyzed the reports and compiled information from them. Some examples of the product categories that contained toxic chemicals:

  • Hallmark party hats contain cancer-causing arsenic.
  • Graco car seats contain the toxic flame retardant TBBPA (tetrabromobisphenol A).
  • Claire’s cosmetics contain cancer-causing formaldehyde.
  • Wal-Mart dolls contain hormone-disrupting bisphenol A.

The chemical reports are required under Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act, which requires major companies making children’s products to report the presence of toxic chemicals in their products. Major findings in the reports include:

  • More than 5,000 products have been reported to date as containing a chemical on Washington State’s list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children.
  • Products reported so far include children’s clothing and footwear, personal care products, baby products, toys, car seats, and arts and craft supplies.
  • Toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium, cobalt, antimony and molybdenum were reported, with cobalt being the metal most often reported.
  • Manufacturers reported using phthalates in clothing, toys, bedding and baby products.
  • Other chemicals reported include solvents like ethylene glycol and methyl ethyl ketone, and a compound used in silicone known as octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane.

Wal-Mart, a major opponent of the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, reported a total of 459 instances of products containing chemicals including arsenic, cadmium, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and mercury.

Washington is the only State currently requiring manufacturers to reveal toxic chemicals in their products, though Minnesota has published a list of “priority” chemicals that are used in products sold in the State. The nine priority chemicals are lead, cadmium, bisphenol A, formaldehyde, two brominated flame retardants and three phthalates. Eight of these are also found Washington’s list. These are known carcinogens and hormone disrupters and in addition to providing danger through exposure they build up in the environment.

Personal Liberty

Bob Livingston

founder of Personal Liberty Digest™, is an ultra-conservative American author and editor of The Bob Livingston Letter™, in circulation since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Chester

    Still trying to figure how Walmart is a manufacturer. A retailer, yes, but as to owning a single manufacturing facility, hardly. The Gap is in pretty much the same situation, don’t know about the others named. If you are going to blame manufacturers for using these items, at least name the MANUFACTURERS, not the sellers.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Chester Payne,

      You write: “Still trying to figure how Walmart is a manufacturer.” Though it doesn’t have its own physical manufacturing facilities, it holds great sway over manufacturers which supply its products to the point that it controls what goes into its products.

      Best wishes,

      • 5live5

        Is there any truth to the rumor that Obam or the government passed a bill holding the chemical companies blameless even if it is found out later that their chemicals caused harm to people at a later date? Being affected by Agent Orange, I would be very interested in knowing. Could you imagine the thousands of Viet Nam vets that would have no recourse to their disabilities or the disabilities of their children?
        I also heard that government agents of some sort raided a lab and destroyed a honey bee colony that the lab had been using to prove that a certain chemical company that we all know and don’t loves chemicals were destroying the honey bee populations. heard that one?

  • Michael Shreve

    Quantification please. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be objective if no data is presented on the DANGER level.

    • Wellarmed

      Would you find it acceptable to allow YOUR children to play with toys that only had trace amounts of these chemicals?

      Many of the toys that originate from China are so saturated with enough harmful chemicals (including lead) that I can only conclude that they are being deliberately inserted to harm children in the US.

      I would be very curious if these chemicals are present in toys destined for European as well as the Asian markets. The increasing rate of autism in the US may have a direct correlation with the degree of chemical saturation of these China sourced toys.