Danish Agency Warns Against “Squishy” Toys, While Consumers Are Warned of Strong Chemical Smells and the Importance of the CE Mark on Toys

In June the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a strong warning against the popular squishy toys and recommended avoiding the products altogether. This caused quite a stir as squishies have been hugely popular. The EPA’s warning was the result of a survey initiated because of repeated enquiries about the strong and unpleasant smell from squishies. In the survey, the degassing of chemical substances from 12 squishies was analysed and evaluated. The survey also included a screening of the risk of children’s contact with the toys. The substance release was evaluated in two worst-case exposure scenarios. In the first scenario a child is sleeping with a squishy toy; in the other degassing from 40 squishies in the same room was evaluated.

Degassing exceeded sampling equipment More than 40 different chemical substances were found when the 12 squishies were analysed. In some cases, the degassing was so strong that it exceeded the capacity of the sampling equipment. A screening of the health hazards of the substances was compared to the degassing levels and revealed a highly increased health risk for all the screened squishies.

Substances harm eyes and respiration The risk of exposure was high, both for acute and long-term impacts, particularly concerning damage to the mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory tract. The impact was most critical in the scenario with the child sleeping with a squishy in his/her arms. However, the scenario with degassing from several squishies in one room also showed increased risk, even if the number of squishies in the room was far below 40. Because of the risk to children’s health, the Danish EPA issued a warning against squishies and declared all the 12 squishies in the survey as illegal and withdrew them form the market. An English summary of the survey is available in the report published by the Danish EPA (pages 13-19). The risk screening was carried out by our toxicological team based on measures made by the Danish Technological Institute

DHI Newsletter, 29 August 2018 ; http://www.dhigroup.com