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Toxic metals in children’s products: an insight into the market in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

Toys and many other children’s products can keep children happy for hours. The right toys can stir young imaginations, and often encourage the first vital steps in the learning process. However, children’s products can also be a source of toxic chemicals, especially when their manufacture is not properly regulated and laws are not sufficiently enforced. 

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All children, both in the developing and developed world are affected by exposure to hazardous chemicals. The unique vulnerability of children to hazardous substances is well recognised by public health professionals and the World Health Organization. Children are not simply ‘little adults’. Their bodies are still developing and their detoxification systems are immature. They react to hazardous chemicals differently from adults. They are also more at risk because they eat and drink more per bodyweight, and they live life closer to the ground, crawling, digging in dirt and putting objects in their mouths. These are natural behaviours and children should not be harmed by their toys.