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Are stinky inflatable pool toys putting your kids at risk? 

The researchers expressed concern that some of the products contain potentially hazardous chemicals that could pose a risk to children’s health, depending on the degree of exposure and concentration levels in the products.

The researchers conducted tests using an inflatable beach ball, a pair of swimming armbands and two bathing rings they bought off the shelf from local stores and online suppliers in Germany.(Shutterstock)

HEALTH

Are stinky inflatable kids' toys putting your kids at risk? Here’s what a study found

The researchers expressed concern that some of the products contain potentially hazardous chemicals that could pose a risk to children’s health, depending on the degree of exposure and concentration levels in the products.

Washington D.C. | By ANI

UPDATED ON APR 13, 2017 08:46 PM IST

Turns out, there are many dangerous chemicals lurking in your swimming pool that can risk your children’s health.

Inflatable sprinkler and swimming aids, like bathing rings and arm bands, often have a distinctive smell which could indicate that they contain a range of potentially hazardous substances.

Some of these compounds, which include carbonyl compounds, cyclohexanone, phenol and isophorone, might be critical when present in higher concentrations in children’s toys, said authors Christoph Wiedmer and Andrea Buettner.

Lead author Wiedmer from Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany and his team conducted tests using an inflatable pool, a pair of swimming armbands and two bathing rings they bought off the shelf from local stores and online suppliers in Germany.

A small piece of material from each sample was analysed using a variety of material analysis techniques, including one that takes infrared measurements, and it was concluded that the inflatable objects were all made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The researchers then investigated the molecular make-up of the distinctive smells arising from the pool toys. They extracted detectable odours from each sample using solvent extraction and high vacuum distillation methods, and then identified the main odorants using a combination of sensory and common analytical approaches.

Between 32 and 46 odours were detected in each sample, of which up to thirteen were quite intense. The majority of these odorants were identified and among these were several fatty smelling mono- or di-unsaturated carbonyl compounds and their epoxidised derivatives, but also odouractive organic solvents such as cyclohexanone, isophorone, and phenol.

As part of the study, a panel of trained volunteers sniffed each product, and ascribed common odour attributes to these. They also rated the intensity of each odour, and had to guess whether these could be hazardous. Three of the products reminded the panellists of almonds, plastic and rubber, while the fourth more pungent one reminded them of glue and nail polish.

Turn on the hose and attach it to West Elm's inflatable car bed or giant shark mouth sprinklers. Fat Brain Toy’s Hydro Twist Pipeline Sprinkler has a couple of fountains, plus a bunch of wiggly worm hoses. Or hook up to BigMouth’s giant 6-foot-high unicorn, who shoots water out of her horn. There’s a ginormous ape, giraffe, dinosaur and giraffe here as well.

At first, glance, laying on an inflatable toy in shallow water seems pretty safe. After all, the water isn't deep, and there is a floating toy right there. Recently, a family's trip to the beach in Nova Scotia proved to be a harrowing reminder of why this is not the case. In August, two 5-year-olds played in shallow water – one in an inflatable ring, the other on an inflatable roller. Because the girls were in shallow water, their caregiver assumed the inflatable toys were enough. It wasn't until the girls began to drift away from that the complete danger of the situation became clear.

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