Toy could make your child sterile

A PRODUCT recall has been issued for a squeaky children's toy which authorities say contains a chemical that could lead to sterility. 

The toy - a 21cm long plastic pig which was sold nationally in gift and discount shops - was recalled today after Product Safety Australia issued an alert. 

"The item does not comply with the permanent ban on children's products containing more than one per cent diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)," Product Safety Australia wrote in a release.  

"DEHP is a commonly used plasticiser that is used to make plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) soft and flexible.

"A risk of reproductive toxicity exists for young children if they extensively chew or suck on objects with unsafe levels of DEHP."

This plastic pig contains DEHP which studies have found may cause sterility
This plastic pig contains DEHP which studies have found may cause sterility

The toy in question was available for sale between January 4 and July 24 this year.    The Federal Department of Health states on its website that DEHP is less likely to cause issues with a child's reproductive system if it is in a toy they simply handle.   However the likelihood is increased if the child chews on a toy containing the substance.    "Risk estimates for reproductive effects from mouthing, sucking and chewing of these (toys) indicated a concern, especially for those children whose mouthing, sucking and chewing behaviour may be more excessive than typical," the Department states. 

While there has been no human trial to check whether the chemical causes sterility - for obvious reasons - trials in rodents have indicated the risk.