Plastic toys, like the ones that are now so ubiquitous on our desks, desks and shelves, are a major contributor to our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.
But there’s another kind of plastic that is also contributing to our health problems.
A new report by researchers at Stanford University found that a new class of plastic toys—called plastic plastic table covers—could be a major contributing factor to a new type of health problem: asthma.
These are the same toys that are designed to reduce stress and anxiety, but they can actually cause respiratory problems and lead to health problems that go beyond asthma.
“What we’re finding is that the toys are the most dangerous when they are attached to the neck of the person with asthma,” says Dr. Anke van der Heijden, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at Stanford.
“That is, when the neck is connected to the toys, that’s the best possible scenario for a person to have an asthma attack.”
In a new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, van der Hoeden and his colleagues used data from more than 2 million children from the California Health Care Research Institute to examine the relationship between air pollution and the risk of asthma in children between the ages of 4 and 16.
“We found that the risk for asthma was almost doubled in children who were attached to plastic table coverings,” van der Helden explains.
“It turns out that the number one cause of asthma is the air that comes from the toys.”
According to the report, children who have toys in their neck and are connected to them have a 1 in 5 chance of developing asthma.
And even though the toy is often attached to a neck that’s protected by a cap or a mask, that still leaves a 4 in 10 chance of the child developing asthma and experiencing a severe asthma attack.
The study found that children who had air pollution exposure, including household air pollution, had about twice the odds of developing asthmatic asthma compared to children who didn’t have exposure.
“This study is important because it provides us with some information about the link between air quality and asthma,” van den Heijen says.
“We’re not saying that air pollution is the only factor in asthma; we’re saying that exposure to air pollution can play a role.”
While the study does not show a direct link between exposure to dust mites or other environmental pollutants and asthma, it does show that the asthma risk is doubled when toys are attached.
This may explain why toys can cause respiratory issues and lead kids to develop asthma.
According to Dr. Thomas Dolan, director of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the study “provides some further insight into how the exposure to the dust mite and other environmental contaminants that can be found in the environment may impact asthma and asthma-related health outcomes.”
“It’s important to note that we’re seeing the effects of this pollution on children in many different ways,” Dolan says.
“The toys are a big culprit here, but it’s also important to realize that children are also exposed to these toys, and the kids in the study who had asthma were also exposed.”
So, the toys may be one way that these toys may have been contributing to the asthma, but this research also suggests that the other way that the dustmites may have affected asthma is through exposure to these other toys,” Dola adds.
The Stanford researchers also looked at the health effects of a new product called Plastics, which is marketed as a “sport toy” for children aged 7 to 11.
The research looked at children who played with plastic plastic ball bearings and balls and found that nearly all of them had asthma.
According to the researchers, this product is a product that has been marketed for a long time, and it’s actually a lot less harmful to kids than the toys we all used to play with.”
It may be the only thing that’s actually causing the asthma attack, because that is the product that the air pollution in the air coming from these toys is affecting,” Dolas says.
It’s a good thing that these products have been around for so long, because children who play with these products, or who are exposed to the air pollutants, can be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of dust mited and other contaminants in the home.
But the problem is not limited to these kinds of products.
As the Stanford researchers note, “Children who play, ride or cycle on public transit and parks are also likely to be exposed.”
The Stanford study was based on data from 1.2 million children across the United States.
The researchers say their findings will help inform public health and public policy around asthma and other health concerns.”
Our study provides some further insights into how these toys can be contributing to asthma,” Van der Heikens says.