Contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in children’s toys and jewelry is an ongoing problem, and there is evidence in the literature that the issue is shifting towards developing countries and small markets. The present research aims (1) to characterize total concentrations of eleven PTEs (As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, and Zn) in children’s jewelry and toys purchased from the Central Asian market (n = 65), and (2) to investigate the relationship between the extent of contamination and sample categories/properties. The laboratory analyses showed that the majority of the samples had PTEs above the total and soluble limits for PTEs stated in the USA, Canadian, and the EU legislation. Particularly for metallic toys and jewelry (n = 46), the total concentrations in 45 samples exceeded the EU migration limits for one or more PTEs. In particular, Cu and Zn concentrations were extremely high (up to 100%) in many samples and highly toxic Cd and Pb were present in elevated quantities in several articles. Contamination was also present, albeit to a much lesser extent, in other toy categories: brittle/pliable toys for Co and Cr, plastic toys and jewelry for Pb, and other toys for Co. Although average values and visual observations suggested evidence, no statistically significant relationship between PTE concentrations and sample properties (color, price, and degree of appeal) could be found. The findings supported the evidence that the contamination issue in children’s jewelry and toys by PTEs is an ongoing issue in developing countries. Very high total concentrations of PTEs particularly found in several metallic samples warrant further investigation of migratable concentrations. Thus, conducting bioaccessibility tests and a subsequent human health risk characterization is recommended. Overall, there is a potential risk for children in the case of exposure to PTEs from children’s jewelry and toys sold on the Central Asian market. More effective enforcement of legislation for consumer goods in the region and raising public awareness regarding chemicals in children’s products are recommended.
- Potentially toxic elements
- Toy contamination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis