Europe Helps Santa Pick Safe Presents

via. Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock

Gift givers around the world can benefit from this advice

As the gift-giving season kicks into high gear, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is reminding consumers that some of the most popular presents are also the most likely to be found with illegal levels of harmful chemicals, possibly posing a risk to health.

This is especially important for children, who are just at the start of a lifetime of fighting exposure to the cocktails of chemicals in our modern lives. ECHA has tweeted advice on how to help Santa make smart gift choices.

EU helps Santa tweet

ECHA Tweet/Public DomainThe ECHA tweet mentions some of the worst offenders by name: plastic toys, costume jewelry, and leather products.

What can you do to make sure you are giving safe gifts? The European Chemicals Agency points citizens to their rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products which lists items with pictures and clear information about the name of the product and the supplier. Citizens outside the EU can usually find similar alerts from their government agencies, for example the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls website.

But consumers can also take general care:

  • Read the labels; If you don't understand the chemicals in a product, look for tools that can help: sustainability certification marks or rating systems such as EWG Skin Deep or GoodGuide are a good place to start.
  • Look for natural products.
  • Buy from companies that you trust.

They say with gifts it's the thought that counts. It's safe to say that thinking about chemical safety counts too.