If you're buying toys for children this year, keep their health in mind. Back in 2007, we reported on the huge amount of toys that contained lead. Of 1,200 toys tested in the U.S., 35 percent contained lead. What's more, only 20 percent had no lead or other toxic chemicals. While since that time, action has been taken to reduce the amount of lead allowed in children's toys: As of 2009, the amount of lead in children's toys can't exceed 90 ppm. If you're like me, you'd rather play it safe when it comes to children and lead and have the limit be zero! And with the vast quantity of cheaply made toys on store shelves, it's hard to believe every one is adhering to this standard. Protect the health of the children in your life (and the health of the environment) by choosing well-made toys that are free of lead. High-quality toys also will stay with children throughout their childhood (and possibly become heirlooms), helping teach children the value of handcrafted, non-throwaway items. A few options below:
Replace plastic cars with a hefty, solid wood fire truck made in the U.S. out of sustainably harvested maple. The truck weights nearly 3 pounds, is approximately 9 inches long and comes with two removable ladders and two firefighters. Green Cradle: $48.
This stuffed gorilla from MiYim Simply Organic is part of The Jane Goodall Wild Animal Collection and made from cotton that's untreated, unprocessed and unbleached, and is dyed with a plant-based dye. Part of the proceeds benefits the Jane Goodall Institute. Miyim, $26.
Let kids play chef without the plastic with the Mix It Up mixer made from sustainably sourced wood.Land of Nod, $49.
This balancing game helps develop children's math skills and understanding of distance. Made of preservative-free rubberwood and nontoxic water-based paints. Planet Happy Toys, $25.