Issue #37: Top 3 Rules for Choosing Non-toxic Pool Toys

PVC Free Pool Toys

PVC Free Pool Toys

“Inflatable” Usually = Toxic PVC Plastic

by Alicia Voorhies, RN

The annual hunt for PVC-free pool toys has become a tradition in our family.  I'm sorry to say that this year has turned out to be just like every other year – disappointing.

We try to avoid PVC plastic as much as possible because it's inherently toxic.  The bummer is that 95% of all inflatable toys are made from PVC because it's durable enough to withstand a tough pounding from kids and weather.

Are you wondering if we've banned inflatable toys from the pool?  Nope.  In my opinion, it's just not realistic.  So here are my rules to live by:

  1. Go for PVC-free toys and life jackets made from polyethylene foam, formamide-free EVA foam, BPA-free polypropylene plastic, silicone, nylon, or rubber.
  2. Consider buying used pool toys or work hard to keep the PVC toys from previous years in good repair. That way they've already off-gassed for an extended period of time.
  3. Choose PVC toys confirmed free of phthalates and lead (both are common building blocks of PVC plastic).  Be sure to plan ahead so you can let it off-gas for three weeks or more outside or in the garage.

Check out our Pool Toy Shopping Guide and Bath Toy Shopping Guide for some great ideas.

What steps have you taken to green your swimming toys this summer?