Plasticizers are chemicals added to polymers to increase their flexibility, durability, and longevity. Without plasticizers, many products would be brittle and break easily. Most plastics contain at least one type of plasticizer, and the use of multiple plasticizers is not uncommon.
But do you know that Plasticizer Standards and concentration when manufacturing ride-on toys vary widely from one country to another In this article, we’ll take a look at how different countries regulate the use of plasticizers in ride-on toys, and what these regulations mean for manufacturers.
In addition, the guide also covers all essential details about Plasticizers and why some of them are restricted from childcare products and ride-on toys. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
A Brief Introduction to Plasticizers
Plasticizers are chemicals used to make plastics more flexible. They are added to plastics during the manufacturing process. Without them, plastics would be brittle and break easily. Many different chemicals can be used as plasticizers, but the most common ones are phthalates. Other popular plasticizers include adipates, sebacates, and trimellitates.
Most plastics contain at least one type of plasticizer; however, the use of multiple plasticizers is not uncommon. They are commonly used in food packaging, personal care products, ride-on toys, and more. It is mainly added to plastics to increase their flexibility, durability, and usefulness.
Some of the properties that make phthalates useful as plasticizers include low cost, low toxicity, and good stability. However, phthalates have come under scrutiny in recent years because of their potential health effects.
While plasticizers are safe for most people when used as intended, some studies have linked certain types of plasticizers to health concerns such as reproductive toxicity, liver damage, and cancer. They usually leach out of the plastic and into the food, posing a great health concern if ingested or otherwise exposed.
As a result, some countries have enacted regulations limiting the use of certain types of plasticizers in certain products. For example, the European Union has banned the use of phthalates in toys and childcare articles.
Given the potential health risks associated with plasticizers, it is important to be aware of the types of plasticizers used in ride-on toys before purchasing them and their government’s perspective on using such chemicals to avoid any trouble later on.
The Pros and Cons of Using Plasticizers In Ride-on Toys
Before moving to the Plasticizers Standards, let’s first learn about the major advantages and disadvantages of using these chemicals. Remember that the pros and cons of using plasticizers in ride-on toys should be carefully considered before a decision is made. If you do decide to use them, be sure to follow the pre-defined standards and instructions carefully to avoid any potential problems.
There are many benefits to using plasticizers in ride-on toys. Here’re mentioned some of them for the readers’ sake of convenience.
- Enhance Durability: One of the biggest benefits is that plasticizers can make toys more durable. This means that the toys will last longer and be able to withstand more wear and tear. Additionally, plasticizers can make the toys more flexible, which makes them less likely to break or crack.
- Reduce the risk of injury: Another benefit of using plasticizers is that they can make the ride-on toys safer for children to use. When toys are made with more durable materials, there is less of a chance that they will break or come apart while children are playing with them. This reduces the risk of injury to children.
- Decreases the cost of production: Finally, plasticizers are cheaply priced; hence, known for decreasing the cost of production. It further helps to make ride-on toys more affordable.
There are several reasons why plasticizers may not be the best choice for ride-on toys. Read on and find some of them here.
- Harmful Health Effects: There is a great deal of concern over the harmful health effects of plasticizers. Some studies have shown that phthalates, a type of plasticizer, can interfere with hormone production and development. This can lead to a range of problems, including early puberty, reduced fertility, and an increased risk for certain cancers.
- Not Environmental-Friendly: There are also concerns that plasticizers can leach out of products and into the environment, where they can cause damage to wildlife. In fact, many of them end up in landfills where they release harmful chemicals into the ground and water.
Are Plasticizers Banned from Using in Ride-On Toys?
Well, not completely. Although Plasticizers are widely known for their harmful effects, not all countries have taken any strict measures to avoid their usage.
There are a few countries that have started to regulate the use of plastic in ride-on toys. For example, Australia has set a standard that all ride-on toys must be made of at least 50% recycled materials to minimize the use of phthalates or other plasticizers.
In the European Union, all ride-on toys must be made with plasticizers that meet the strict REACH standards. In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has also enacted strict standards for ride-on toys, banning the use of certain types of phthalates in these products.
Despite these regulations, it is still important to be aware of the potential risks associated with plasticizers and take steps to minimize your exposure. Many companies have started to voluntarily use recycled materials in their products. It is important to support these manufacturers so that we can move towards a more sustainable future.
Is there any specific Plasticizer Standard for Ride-on Toys?
While precautionary measures are continuously taken by authorities who maintain toy safety standards, there’s no specific standard fixed by them. In January 2014, the European Commission concluded that the restriction on two widely used plasticizers, including DINP and DIDP, should be maintained to keep them away from kids.
In addition, they have also decided that other non-classified high-phthalates, such as DIDP, DNOP, DINP, BBP, etc., cannot be used at more than 0.1% concentration, either as substances or as constituents of preparations. Any toy or childcare material that exceeds this concentration shall be prohibited from selling in the market.
On the other hand, they have also classified that low-phthalate plasticizers, such as 2-Ethylhexyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, and butylbenzyl phthalate shall not be used as substances or as constituents of preparations at more than 0.1% concentration by mass of the plasticized material.
On December 17, 2018, the European Commission published another regulation to update the Phthalate restriction in entry 51 to Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation. Earlier, they have three plasticizers, namely DEHP, DBP, and BBP and now it moves to four, namely DEHP, DBP, BBP, and DIBP.
Speaking of DIBP, it has not been placed on the market after July 7, 2020, neither individually nor in any combination in concentrations equal to or more than 0.1% by weight of the plasticized material, like a ride-on toy.
Although there are differences in the plasticizer standards for ride-on toys in different countries, the overall goal is to ensure that these products are safe for children to use. By adhering to these standards, manufacturers can help to prevent serious injuries associated with plasticizers and other such chemicals.
To enhance the safety of childcare articles, it is mandatory to have a clear and consistent regulatory framework so you can manufacture or purchase products accordingly.