HEALTH

5 Toxic Gifts to Avoid Giving Your Kids This Christmas

Kids love Christmas! It’s the time of year when the antsy anticipation of receiving the latest, hottest, most sought-after toys have kids waking up at the crack of dawn, jumping on beds and demanding a roundup at the family’s Christmas Tree on Christmas Day.

As gift givers, this is the time of year we splurge without guilt. From Tickle Me Elmo, Lego Dino T-Rex Hunter and Barbie’s new Twilight Barbie-cum-Vampire dolls, the tills keep on ringing!

But, caveat emptor. There exist harmful chemical toxins lurking in the very toys we shower our kids with. Here are 5 toxic and harmful gifts to avoid giving your precious kids. Once you read this, I promise your gift-giving shopping list will never read the same again.

1. Avoid Toys Made of Phthalates
Gone are the days of playing with wooden clothes pegs as make-believe food, or a wooden self-assembled train on tracks. Today, almost every toy you find at the toy shop is made of plastic.

Why? Because plastic is cheap, easy to produce and extremely versatile. But there is a price – phthalates. Often known as plasticizers, phthalates are chemical compounds used to make plastic more flexible, more durable and harder to break. Unfortunately, kids’ high level exposure to phthalates is shown to have direct association with birth defects, ADHA, obesity, asthma and behavioral problems to name a few.

Some toy manufacturing companies are promising to reduce or eliminate the use of phthalates in their products. But at this time, there are far more products being sold with phthalates than those without. In Aug 2012, a new report found that seemingly harmless products such as Dora, Spiderman and Disney-branded lunchboxes, raincoats, bagpacks and 3-ring binders all contain elevated levels of phthalates. (Read more)

2. Avoid Harmful Art & Crafts Supplies
While the festive holidays is a time for family bonding and doing lots of creative arts, exposure to most art and craft supplies is a health risk. Crayons, glue, acrylic paint, markers, dyes and pigments are full of toxic compounds that can be inhaled and easily ingested. These chemical compounds contain carcinogens, that have the ability to damage and alter cellular metabloic processes in the body, and is directly involved in causing cancer.

Especially for kids, look at the label. Best to make sure the supplies you have at home are labelled as non-toxic.

3. Avoid Glitter Glam Accessories
Pretty sparkly accessories with tons of glitter and bling look glamorous and fun. But in fact, they are made from lead and other poisonous chemicals. Heard of arsenic poisoning? This is it. A recent comprehensive study in Time magazine reported that over 59% of cheap jewellery sold in big chain stores like Walmart, Forever 21, H&M and Target contain one or more chemicals, considered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), to be hazardous to human health at high levels.

Children who tend to suck, tuck and swallow on accessories must not be exposed to these chemicals. Their health is at stake. Arsenic poisoning is linked to bladder, kidney, lung, liver and prostate cancer.

4. Avoid High-Sugared Candy
Christmas is not Christmas without the flood of holiday confectioneries. Sugar-coated candy canes to rainbow-colored bon bons to chocolate-dunked toffee apples, and not to mention….Christmas fruitcake.

While your kids’ buds are deliciously exploding with sweetness, they are also ingesting the ghastly effects of high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic colors, GMO ingredients and excessive sugar. Kids may develop hyperactivity, food allergy to corn (read here), diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Fill your candy bowl with all-natural sweets made from organic ingredients instead. Today, there are quite a few candy companies that produce candies using natural ingredients and without artificial coloring and preservatives. For example, The Natural Confectionary Co., is a proud Australian family business that specializes in delicious jellies and lollies made from natural fruit flavours and no artificial coloring.You can easily find them at Cold Storage, NTUC, 7-Eleven and/or your neighborhood convenience store.

5. Avoid Anything PVC
Polyvinyl chloride (also known as PVC) is one of the most common chemical used in almost everything we own from wallets, bags, purses, shoes, iPhone covers and even hair accessories. It is used to stabilize lead to produce these consumer products.

Unfortunately, lead is extremely dangerous. A small amount of exposure can potential cause irreversible health problems, and affect almost every system in the body. To protect your kids’ developing body and brain, avoid anything PVC-related including soft plastic, faux-leather and plastic-y accessories.

Live a better life. Go natural ♥

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