Continuing the toy-theme of the day now, with a story that could have a huge impact on the secondary toy market.

According to the BBC, scientists have recently conducted a study on second-hand toys, which suggest some could pose a significant health risk. The scientists from the University of Plymouth, tested 200 used plastic toys, taken from homes, nurseries and thrift shops within the South-West, and found traces of nine hazardous elements in 20 of them.

The tested toys ranged from figures and puzzles to trains and cars. The hazardous materials found in 10% of the toys including antimony, barium, bromine, cadium, chromium, selenium and lead.

According to the University’s report, which was published in Environmental Study and Technology, red, yellow and black plastics were by far the worst culprits.

Dr Andrew Turner of the University of Plymouth, said:

“Lego bricks from the 70s and 80s are the big fail. Toys in those days weren’t tested and now we’re using them and handing them down.”

The big risk – and the focus of the BBC’s article – is of course the threat these toys could pose to children. Parents picking up second-hand toys on the cheap, could be passing on potentially harmful toys to their kids without even knowing it.

At present, this is purely just a study; however, should further research be conducted and/or vintage toys prove too much of a risk, then measures could be put in place to address this situation.

Mark Gardiner, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Any goods that are bought second-hand are not going to have the same safety assurances. Parents should weigh up these risks, especially when giving their children toys that are very old and could have also mechanically deteriorated over time.”

He added:

“If the toys do indeed pose a risk to children, then the products can be removed from the market.”

So, putting the health risk to one side for a moment, what does this mean for collectors?

Well, as mentioned above, nothing at present – so don’t panic. However, it’s worth paying attention to this story as this situation could change in the not-too distant future.

Collector’s don’t tend to put toys in their mouths – or at least, I don’t think we do – but if vintage toys start being taken out of circulation this could see the end of certain lines. Of course, the health aspect is the most important thing to consider, so what will be will be.

This is certainly a story to keep an eye on.