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Safe Toys

Toxic free products for children - What’s the problem?

Many toys contain synthetic substances, which are known to be hazardous to children’s health. These include for instance softeners used in plastic toys, which can disrupt the hormone system, formaldehyde used in glued wooden puzzles, which can cause cancer, or flame retardants in teddy bears that can be toxic to development. Independent tests confirm that almost all of those hazardous chemicals can be substituted by safer alternatives.

Children absorb more hazardous chemicals than an adult. Their immune and nervous systems are still developing. Hazardous chemicals are also found in cosmetics, furniture and other everyday products. So children are exposed to a variety of hazardous chemicals from many different sources. Even the smallest amounts of hazardous chemicals are sufficient to harm the development of a child – sometimes with lifelong consequences. The increasing allergy and cancer rates demonstrate this.

Are there laws that protect?

The EU-wide Toys Directive and the European chemicals legislation, REACH, do not sufficiently protect our children because many hazardous chemicals are still allowed. Also, toy manufacturers are not required to list the chemicals used in the making of the toy, even if hazardous chemicals are present.

WECF works on national and international levels to protect children’s health by initiating and supporting a world free of toxic and unsafe toys. WECF works on a national level in France, Germany and the Netherlands to strengthen national regulation and labels on toys, on the EU level to enhance the Toys Safety Directive and related regulation, and on the international level in the “Safe Toys Coalition.”The Safe Toys Coalition addresses decision makers, producers, retailers and the public on national, regional and international level and helps consumers make informed decisions about the products they buy.

Safe Toys Coalition

The coalition was created by WECF and Eco Accord, alongside a group of international health and environment non-governmental organisations, who formed a new working group to ensure safe toys for the healthy future of children.
The campaign is aimed at anyone or any organisation concerned or working in the area of children‘s environment and health. If you would like to become part of the Safe Toys Coalition, please send an email to Alexandra Caterbow ( Further information can be found on the special Safe Toys website with links to documents, publications, and NGO activities on toys


Events & Policy Activities





Related Projects

Safe Toys Coalition

Baltic Info Campaign on Hazardous Substances
The overall goal of the project is to initiate a stronger demand at the society in the three Baltic States for products free of hazardous substances via awareness raising activities. You can find more information on the BEF

Product and Chemical Safety in the Balkans
This project, identifies the needs of consumers, politics and the economy in this area and presents best practices that will improve the protection of health and the environment. The three countries, Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania, have successful increased awareness and influenced policy change regarding Toy safety. You kind find more information on the “Product and Chemical Safety in the Balkans”

French Project
Jouets et substances chimiques : la nouvelle réglementationva-t-ellemieuxprotéger les enfants et rassurer les parents?

The Nesting Project
On our website you can find more information about how to create a toxic free environment for your baby in 8 different languages.