AR-News: Warning on plastic pet toys

Animalsav at Animalsav at
Sun Feb 8 15:00:34 EST 2004

Poisonous Plastics for Dogs

They squeak, they squish, they bounce. They come in all shapes and colours, 
from T-bone steaks to squeaky porcupines. Your dogs play with them, chew on 
them, and love them to pieces (literally). What you might not know is that they 
could cause cancer and liver damage. Vinyl and plastic dog toys contain a 
chemical compound that is currently under investigation by the U.S. Consumer 
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to possible cancer risks to humans. 

The chemical in question is DINP (di-isononyl phthalate), used to make hard 
PVC plastic soft and pliable. In 1998 Health Canada issued an advisory warning 
about the dangers of mouthing soft plastic toys by small children, and some 
countries, such as Sweden, Germany, and Italy, have already started phasing out 
DINP for use in children's toys. But no one is talking about the effects DINP 
may have on dogs' health. 

Over the past decade, scientific research has shown that DINP can be toxic to 
lab animals, causing liver and kidney damage and at higher levels of 
exposure, increased cancer incidence. These findings were important enough to prompt 
further review of exposures to children due to mouthing soft plastic toys. The 
studies focused on small children who generally only mouth toys for brief 
periods during a small fraction of their lifespan. Dogs, in contrast, may chew and 
ingest soft vinyl toys for hours at a time throughout their entire lives. 

The U.S. CPSC concluded that phthalates can leach out of plastics and that a 
child mouthing or sucking a soft plastic toy may ingest more than the 
acceptable daily intake. Their 1998 report, The Risk of Chronic Toxicity Associated 
with Exposure to Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) in Children's Products, states that 
"Animal studies show that DINP causes chronic toxic effects to the liver and 
other organs." and that "the maganitude of the risk is directly related to the 
amuont of DINP released from mouthing and the amount of time children mouth 
the products." 

Then what about our dogs? According to, "almost all soft 
plastic toys contain PVC," so avoid these types of toys if you're concerned about 
the health risks mentioned above. Natural rubber or latex soft toys provide a 
non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative. 
Tracy Werner is the owner of Natural Pet Market, a company focused on healthy 
alternatives for companion animals. See Her 
recent loss of one of her dogs to cancer prompted her to research the issues 
she discusses here. 

References: - PVC in Toys

USCPSC - The Risk of Chronic Toxicity Associated with Exposure to Diisononyl 
Phthalate (DINP) in Children's Products 1998 

Mike Rolland
Webmaster, forum moderator

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