Big Idea: UT Staff Member Works for Safer Toys

 

Cat WiltCat Wilt wants to make toys healthier, safer, and more environmentally-friendly.

The director of the Center for Clean Products, Wilt was instrumental in developing North America’s first and only third-party environmental toy standard, UL 172.

Wilt said other standards address hazards— such as choking— but nothing in North America addresses toxicity. Yet, the U.S. has seen at least forty-five toxic toy recalls between 2008 and 2011, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

She worked for three years to lead an expert advisory committee in developing the scientific and social underpinnings of certification standards.

Wilt said manufacturers can demonstrate environmental leadership and a commitment to safeguarding children’s health by pursuing the voluntary certification. The standard recognizes companies which use safer chemicals and healthier, more environmentally-preferable materials in toys.

“This standard is an important step in promoting greener, healthier toys for children,” she said. “Through restricting content such as heavy metals, known carcinogens, and other human health hazards, while encouraging practices like socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing with sustainably sourced materials, this standard will enable parents, grandparents, and other toy buyers to make toy purchases they feel confident about.”

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