Plastic Toys Could Be Making Your Child Sick

By Diane Palmer, Parent Herald June 27, 10:48 am
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Plastic toys could be posing a risk to your child's health since it increases the risk of infectious diseases, according to experts. Certain viruses typically survive on the surface of toys that often result in exposure.

The type of virus found are known as enveloped viruses, which have a protective outer later that allows them to survive and infect other cells. Examples of such viruses include influenza and Coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.

Researchers tested how long a virus could survive on a child's plastic toy by using an enveloped bacteriophage. The virus was then placed on the toy in a controlled humidity environment of either 40 or 60 percent.

Results showed that particles of the virus were still present 24 hours after the toy was contaminated with a humidity of up to 60 percent. There was a reduction of 99 percent in the number of infectious viruses within the said time period.

The virus was less stable after 10 hours of contamination when the humidity was at 40 percent. A 40 percent humidity level is more common in indoor environments.

Even if only particles of the virus remained, a risk that children could become ill still remains. Toys remain one of the most probable channels for the transmission of viral diseases among children.

Unfortunately, people do not think that viruses can come from inanimate objects, according to Richard Bearden II, lead author of the study from Georgia State University. Bearden explains that the common notion is that viruses come from other people.

A virus can live on surfaces for several weeks, according to Michigan State University. When a child touches those surfaces, the virus can get on the child's hands and can then be transferred into the mouth, to food, or to other people.

Previous studies have shown the increased likelihood of viral contamination among shared toys in day care centers and doctor's offices, according to Daily Mail. Toys found in common play areas in health care settings have even been dubbed as vehicles for outbreaks of viral illnesses.

“Children are vulnerable to contracting infectious disease because they put their hands and foreign objects in their mouths,” according to Bearden. He also explains that children's immune systems are not fully developed.

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