With Plastic – Let Your Nose Be Your Guide!
(POR) Remember these? They were a popular gift item at the banks – a cute little container to help kids learn about saving money. The only problem is that they’re totally toxic! All you need to verify this is your nose! Open the bottom and smell the inside. The fumes are so overpowering, even years later in some cases, that this little novelty is on NaoNoMeu’s YUK! List.
- WARNING: Do not burn this thing in your fireplace or barbecue pit to get rid of it. It will only release toxic fumes and particulate into the air within and around your house. Inhaled toxins are very dangerous and move directly from lung tissue into the bloodstream.
Many harmful chemicals are like this: They smell “unnatural” and often very pungent. For example – common chemical fumes from many plastic products now smell like gasoline or other automotive or industrial lubricants. Why? Because the ingredients used to make most plastics (and their additives) are derived from fossil fuels like oil. Beyond this fact, however, there are other factors…
Plastic products usually stink when they’ve been manufactured improperly. Among other things, bad manufacturing involves the use of (1) low-quality ingredients, (2) poor/sloppy processing techniques, and (3) missing control mechanisms. Now…
- This doesn’t mean that odorlessness (no smell) automatically implies that a product is harmless/nontoxic. In fact, there are plenty of toxic products that don’t smell much at all. Here are some examples (more).
- But it does mean that a strong chemical odor equates to toxicity, and that it likely comes from the fact that the product was poorly manufactured.
That said, avoid products that were Made in China. Not everything that comes from China is bad – there are many good manufacturers/distributors there. But there are also many bad ones. This has created a “wild west” market of cheap, toxic imitation products that look professionally made. And in this respect there’s almost no way to determine which products are dangerous, since they all look the same. Here’s a link to a perfect recent example (more). NaoNoMeu therefore applies a simple, but important set of rules when it comes to Chinese products:
- Avoid them, especially with respect to baby and children’s products.
- If you still want to buy the product, open the package and smell it. If it has a strong chemical or unnatural odor, do not buy it.
- If the price is unexpectedly low compared to other similar products do not buy it. This probably means that it is a poorly made imitation of a better branded product. For example, look at the label. (1) Does it really say “Disney” or something like “Diusey”. (2) Read the rest of the labeling as well. Are there misspelled words? Other strange labeling issues that bother you?
- Avoid all cosmetics, perfumes and personal care products from China as well. Chemical odors in cosmetics products are often masked using other chemicals. So there is almost no way to perform a simple “sniff-test” on products like these.