Chinese popular foam toys “squishies” pose a threat to health

Found of toxic chemical substances in popular foam toys from China makes The Danish Environmental Protection Agency advise people to throw out all “squishies”.

Photo: Miljø- og Fødevareministeriet

A study on 12 squishies carried out by The Danish Environmental Protection Agency showed that 12 out of 12 squishies contained toxic chemical substances (dimethylformamide). This find causes the agency to encourage people throw out the popular foam toy.

“We are the first country in the world that has identified the problematic substances, despite the fact that it is a worldwide craze,” states Magnus Løfstedt, Office Manager at The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, to Politiken.

The foam toys pose a threat to children’s health due to the release of toxic chemical substances. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the squishies are so dangerous that the agency now officially advise buyers to dispose of all purchased squishies.

“We do this because the products release chemical substances that can cause primarily transient irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. These nuisances cease when you are no longer exposed to the products. But we also saw other effects, for example on the nervous system and the liver, but these more serious effect occurs only when one is exposed to the squishies for a long period of time,” Magnus Løfstedt explains.

First country to identify problems with squishies

The result of the study is now handed over to the agency’s chemical department that will consider whether there is a basis for police reporting. The study started back in March and according to Magnus Løfstedt this makes Denmark the first country to identify the problems with the Chinese foam toys. This means that the agency now is informing its colleagues in the EU about the problems with squishies.

Even though some kids have been exposed to squishes for a long period of time – and their parents now must worry – Magnus Løfstedt reassures that children getting permanently injured would be extremely unfortunate.

“Considering the fact that squishies evidently deliver the largest amount of chemical substances immediately after unpacking and that the concentration of chemicals decreases over time, we estimate that the likelihood of children having permanent injury due to these products is low.”

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