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Toxic Dangers of Baby Teething Toys

Baby teething with plastic toy
By FindLaw Staff on July 27, 2023

When it comes to child safety, parents tend to pull out all the stops. But if you have a baby who is teething, you might want to consider putting in some stops. You might have heard of bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA) and something called "phthalates." You might even know that these chemicals are in plastics and can be harmful. But since plastics are everywhere — including in many children's and baby toys — how can you know what's safe? And what legal action can you take if it turns out a toy you bought for your loved one was dangerous?

Deceptive Marketing

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as reading labels and buying allegedly "safe" toys. Different products have different regulations, which allow companies to get away with false marketing. Studies on baby teething toys, for example, are not regulated in the same category as baby bottles.

2013 study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that not only did baby teethers labeled as "non-toxic" contain toxic chemicals, but a majority of toys labeled as "BPA-free" actually contained BPA. The study looked at whether baby teething toys contained EDCs (endocrine disruptor chemicals), BPA, and other toxic chemicals. EDCs are harmful chemicals that can affect a little one's development in many ways. Because all the harmful links between BPA, EDCs, and other toxic chemicals remain unknown, some researchers suggest avoiding as many as possible and sticking to eco-friendly or organic products instead.

Take Care With Teethers

In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and children's drinking cups. But teethers were not included in the ban. This meant that while many companies voluntarily claimed to remove BPA from their teethers, teething toys, and other baby products, there was no mandate to investigate these products for BPA. This leads to perhaps the most shocking result from the study: A high percentage of teethers in the study were mislabeled as non-toxic or BPA-free, or both.

Fortunately, as the researchers found, the levels of BPA that the teethers gave off were (assuming normal usage) generally within safe levels. But more wary researchers are likely to disagree with what is considered safe, and more cautious parents might want to avoid allowing teething rings and other baby products to reach their babies' mouths

Hold Off On Homeopathic Products

While teethers with a touch of BPA may be OK, homeopathic teething tablets are something else. It might be best to heed experts' warnings about avoiding the homeopathic tablets and gels on a baby's gums. Though these products once had a reputation for working well, they are now strongly cautioned against as there have been multiple deaths. The first recalls for homeopathic teething tablets and gels began in 2010, and there have been official warnings against their use.

These are just a few examples of potentially dangerous substances in children's products. You can read more about BPA in plastic and epoxy resins, other products that contain BPA, and BPA-related lawsuits at our Learn About the Law pages on product liability. If you think your child has suffered injury from a dangerous product, you may have a legal case. Talk to an experienced, local product liability attorney in your area.

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