Those of you with children may remember the massive recall of 23 million toys after lead was discovered in toys made in China. The public outcry was tremendous because lead is associated with neurological damage. Hopefully those of you with pets began to wonder, “If there is lead in children’s toys then there has to be in our pets toys?” Well, the answer in most cases is yes! Other causes for concern are pthalates, chemical dyes, chromium, cadmium, mercury and BPA, just to mention a few, that could be found in toys, bedding and bowls.
After the 2007 recalls, Trace Laboratories tested Paws N’ Claws tennis balls and they found an astounding 27,200ppm lead levels in the ink on the balls. They also tested a ceramic food dish and found lead levels at 2,890 ppm. The lead levels in both these items far exceed the level set for human toys currently at 300 ppm. Pets chew long and hard on toys and lead comes off more readily after a pet’s saliva soaks the toy and begins to partially digest the surface allowing for toxic accumulation.
Symptoms of lead poisoning are vague and mimic other conditions such as: anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, blindness, deafness and behavioral changes. So you ask, what’s being done about this? Since the children’s toy recall a government agency “Consumer Product Safety Commission” or CPSC has tightened regulations by imposing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The act reduces the limit of total lead content in children products from 600ppm (parts per million) to 300ppmeffective 8/14/09. Other regulations include pthalates not to exceed .1%, mandatory testing and certification.
Unfortunately, (as you could probably guess) no action has been take for the pet product industry and there are no regulations governing it either. Therefore, all we can continue to do is educate ourselves
on what is safe for our pets and what isn’t. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
• Use glass or stainless steel dishes.
• Use only sport tennis balls, not tennis balls made as pet toys.
• Visit websites that monitor and rate specific toys or brands for toxins. Such as, www.healthystuff.org and www.goodguide.com
• Avoid plastics containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is brittle and is often augmented with pthalates and stabilizing heavy metals.
• Purchase products Made in the USA.
• Avoid toys made of synthetic latex.
• Contact the company and ask.
Lastly let’s look at the quality of rawhide…According to Cattle Network. The U.S. exports more than $1billion in cattle hides to China every year, and guess what they do with them? They make them into rawhide chews for pets and ship them right back to us!
Something else to think about is when hides are stripped from the animal they are perishable and should be kept cool till processing. Hides shipped to China are trucked to the west coast and loaded onto ships. It can take weeks to reach the Chinese port and hides are commonly covered in mold and have to be bleached upon arrival. Then they go through a chemical processing to help
preserve them and that’s just the beginning. It’s imperative to buy rawhide that is made in the USA!
I chose to write on this topic now because we are approaching gift giving season. Knowledge is power my friends, so it’s my hope this article will make you think twice before grabbing that cute stuffed Santa Claus made in China to put in your pets stocking. Let’s think twice. Don’t be naughty…be nice to man’s best friend.
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