Beware of toxic toys in the market


This video by PennPIRG and the write-up below by Consumer Life Nigeria should be viewed and read by parents who don’t want to regret endangering their children’s lives through their love gifts.


When parents in Nigeria are shopping for toys for their children, the major factors they consider are the functionality, colour and of course the price. The issue of safety is oftentimes ignored because many do not know that some of the toys sold in the country contain toxic substances which could have long-term health implications for their children.

A research conducted by Sindiku O. K and Osibanjo O of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, which was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences, confirmed that some of these toys pose danger to children.

For the research, they sampled various toys picked from stores in Lagos. About 84 per cent of the toys were manufactured in China while the remaining originated from the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Vietnam, and Romania.

These toys include, Barbie doll, Police car, Aeroplane, Armoured tank car, Toy telephone, Water gun, Toy train, Blue toy gun, Bonbon buddies, Toy jewellery box, Darby star train rail, puzzle box, Toy power bike, Cargo toy train and Sleeping beauty castle, among others.

The result of the research is frightening: “Children’s toys imported into Nigeria irrespective of the country of manufacture especially toys from China contain toxic heavy metals, such as lead, nickel, chromium and cadmium in varying concentrations and some even showing high lead concentration that may pose hazards to children’s health and create a major environmental health hazard in its use and disposal. Especially alarming is the presence of high lead levels in a China made toy, feeding bottle designed to put into children’s mouth and a stallion horse toy from China.”

The Pennsylvania Public Interest Group in the US examined hundreds of toys recently to determine their safety levels. The result was also disturbing. The group found some toys with potential choking and noise hazards as well as one that exceeded federal standards on toxicity.

However, the attention of consumers was drawn to certain category of toys that could endanger their children:


  • Toys with button battery (If swallowed, a button battery can burn a hole in a child’s stomach.)
  • Balloon toys (Balloons are the leading cause of choking hazards in children.)
  • Toys with high chromium levels (Chromium causes skin reactions such as redness or swelling. It can cause ulcers and if ingested it can cause cancer.)
  • Noise related toys (Toys in this category can cause hearing damage especially to children between the ages of six and 17.)
  • Toys with small parts (This include small balls that can block a child’s airway. Parents should not give their children under three this kind of toy.)

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