Is There Nothing Left That Doesn't Use a Battery?
Over the past couple of years I have been spending more time with my friend's children. It reminds me of my grandfather's stories about walking 400 miles to school each day through the snow in the same pair of shoes for 18 years. Actually it wasn't quite that Paul Bunyanish, but close. What brings up those reminiscences are the sheer tsunami-size flood of toys that require batteries. Flashing lights, music, sound effects, rolling, creeping, crawling, thumping toys. Toys that jump in the air, skittle across the floor and generally do everything but wash the dishes. Even baby dolls open their eyes, move their hands, gurgle, drink and dare I say, poop. All with the blessing of a battery. This was absolutely not the case when I was growing up. I miss Lincoln Logs, building blocks, dolls that required imagination, and that ubiquitous cardboard box that was a dollhouse, a schoolroom, a spy center, a space station and a castle, at various times until it crumbled into oblivion and was swept out to the trash. It was a time of incredible imagination and the virtue of silence.
But it is much more than the stimulation of imagination at play here. It is the effect of all that cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal that is contained in many of the Nickel-Cadmium batteries used in toys. Cadmium is considered more toxic than lead if ingested. This is more common than you might think. Workers at NiCd manufacturing plants in Japan have been experiencing health problems from prolonged exposure and many governments have banned the disposal of nickel-cadmium batteries in landfills. It can be absorbed through the skin by touching a damaged battery.
One instance I actually witnessed was a father driving over a toy in the driveway which not only flattened the toy, but the battery inside as well. The child ran over and picked it up hugging it to his chest, as you can imagine, and was exposed to the cadmium that had been inside the battery. Some batteries, such as AAA or smaller are small enough for a child to swallow, and there are lots of possibilities for this simply by the child removing the battery from the toy.
I think it is vitally important for us to keep our children safe from heavy metal exposure because more and more research indicates that it is a strong factor in ADD, ADHD, autism and many other diseases. Brain development, learning, nervous system regulation and even immunity are at stake, and children don't know the dangers of heavy metals or where they lie. In fact, many adults don't even know! So spend a little time investigating heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, aluminum and find out how to protect your growing child from the effects of heavy metal toxicity. It could truly save your child's future.