[Act] Detoxifying our lives

Consumers should carefully read product labels and try to identify chemical safety information before purchasing children's products.

Consumers should carefully read product labels and try to identify chemical safety information before purchasing children's products.

© Greenpeace

If you're a parent, I’m sure you are very aware of the food you give your children and are concerned about whether it’s safe for them to eat. You must also worry about whether the environment in which they play and learn could be doing them any harm. Just like germs, toxics are invisible dangers present in our everyday lives that may pose a danger to our families.

Stay away from toxics

Hong Kong says no to Hazardous Waste

Greenpeace has been campaigning on this very issue since the 1980s. Here in Hong Kong, our Toxics team has been investigating how industries are poisoning our environment and campaigning to put a stop to this kind of serious pollution. In 1998, we succeeded in making the Hong Kong government ban the import of toxic waste (even for transit to a third country). We had an even bigger win in 2006 when we succeeded in making three of the world’s top computer companies – Dell, Acer and Lenovo - promise to phase out the use of hazardous materials in their products.

Nevertheless, our work has become ever more urgent. Our three most recent studies have shown that many common consumer goods, such as children's toys, stationery, and mobile phones contain toxic heavy metals.

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"For the sake of our health and the health of our families, every one of us needs to become more aware of the toxic chemicals that are present in the products we use. Only by stepping forward and reporting problems to the government, or providing feedback to manufacturers can we begin to build a safer world.” Ada Kong, Greenpeace campaigner

How can we stay away from toxics?

Toys: Try to choose toys made of unpainted raw wood, fabric or paper. You should avoid plastic toys that give off a pungent 'plastic odor' or feel soft, greasy and sticky.

Garments: Shirts that claim to be ‘wrinkle resistant’ may have had formaldehyde added during the production process.

Infant products: Try to choose products made of 100% cotton, flax or wool, and avoid those containing PVC plastic.

Kitchenware: Choose tableware made of glass or ceramic. These are unlikely to contain lead.

Beauty and skin care products: Be cautious of sun cream with SPF of over 50 or products with a high concentration of oxybenzone.

Furniture: Avoid furniture that contains heavy metals, PVC, volatile materials and formaldehyde.