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Are you smelling the plastic? Avoid those beach toys

When it comes to beach toys, follow your nose.

This is as with inflatable unicorns, pool floats, water wings and other poolside plastics, the harmful pollutants are often noticeable by their smell.

If you notice that the plastic has a pungent smell like tar or mothballs, it is better not to buy it, consumer experts say.

That’s because many poolside inflatables are made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a plasticiser-containing plastic.

This plastic may also contain carcinogenic substances, some of which have an unpleasant odour, according to experts from the consumer advice centre in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

And what if you only notice the plastic stink once you have bought it? Bring it back, the consumer protection experts say.

If you’ve passed the legal time for returning the product, you may have to rely on the seller’s goodwill in order to get your money back. If you want to avoid PVC altogether when splashing around, you should look for products that bear the clear label “PVC-free”.

The problem is that most products do not have to be labelled with PVC, according to the consumer advice centre.

However, if the numbers “03” can be seen in a triangle of arrows on the product or packaging, it means it is made out of PVC. Sometimes, products made of hard plastic can be an alternative.

For example, a hard plastic clamshell to fill with water can be just as fun for toddlers as a paddling pool. It can also be used as a sandbox after the summer.


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