Host: Are harmful plastics dangerous if they are not heated?
Michael Schade: They can be, yeah. Some of the plastics do leach out, do leach chemicals when they are used. So for instance, let's talk about PVC plastic toys. Many children's toys are made with PVC plastic as I mentioned, it is an extremely toxic plastic. It's toxic for workers and communities where it's manufactured. But it can also be harmful for children. Lead is actually sometimes used as an additive to make PVC plastic toys and baby products. For instance, lead has been found in children's lunch boxes, it has been found in children's baby bibs, it has even found in children's toys. So when children chew on vinyl toys, when lead is used as an additive, they can actually be exposed to these highly toxic metal. Additionally, there are other toxic additives that can leach out of vinyl toys when children use them or chew on them. Phthalates are another classic chemicals that are commonly added to vinyl toys to make them soft, and when children chew or suck on or play with vinyl plastic toys, phthalates can also leach out of the toys. Between 80-90% of all phthalates are used to soften vinyl products such as children's toys. These chemicals have been linked to many serious health problems including reduced Testosterone production, birth effects, certain types of cancer and even asthma.
So when children are playing with these toys, they can be exposed to potentially harmful levels of these toxic chemicals in our homes.