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Toxic Chemicals Found in Squishies

You’ve probably seen them – Squishies are the current toy craze for elementary school kids. They have the texture and feel of “stress balls”, but come in all sorts of kid-themed designs, and kids love to squish them. Sensing that the odd smell coming off of them could be a sign of something dangerous, the Danish government recently tested Squishies and found them to be full of toxic substances.

Toxic Squishies

The Danes tested 12 Squishies for the offgassing of toxic chemicals. All 12 Squishies were found to emit toxic substances (including dimethylformamide, xylene, and methylene chloride). The chemicals are thought to cause reproductive problems, cancer, liver and nervous system damage, and irritation to the mucous membrane and eyes. They concluded that the high concentration levels found may pose a significant risk if children spend a lot of time near them, for example sleeping with Squishies near them or having many of them in their rooms.

Throw Out the Squishies

The Danish government estimates that the likelihood of children getting lasting effects is very low. They suggest that the damage will be the greatest if the child plays with these toys for a prolonged period of time. However, the body has an ability to repair damage when the impact stops. Therefore, they recommend throwing away Squishy toys now.

New Squishies Banned in Denmark

The evaporation of the harmful substances from the products decreases over time. The release of the hazardous chemical substances is by far the largest when the Squishy is new and afterwards it decreases. Therefore, it is recommended that no new squishies should be brought into the home. In fact, it is now illegal to sell these products within Denmark.

Remember to Ask in the USA

We wish our government agencies in the US were as proactive about researching the products our children are exposed to. Since they are not, make sure to ask questions about the products your children are bringing home, especially if it has a weird scent or feels funny. At Sprout we will do our best to stay on top of the latest research on products for children, so if you aren’t sure about something, please feel free to reach out and ask us!

Details on the Chemicals Found

According to the CDC, exposure to the three chemicals listed (dimethylformamide, xylene, and methylene chloride) can cause the following effects:

  • Dimethylformamide — Irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system; nausea, vomiting, colic; liver damage, enlarged liver; high blood pressure; face flush; dermatitis. In Animals: kidney, heart damage.
  • Xylene — Irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, and throat; dizziness, excitement, drowsiness, incoordination, staggering gait; corneal vacuolization; anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain; dermatitis.
  • Methylene Chloride— Irritation of the eyes and skin; lassitude (weakness, exhaustion), drowsiness, dizziness; numb, tingle limbs; nausea; [potential occupational carcinogen].

See the full report (in Danish).