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Nontoxic inflatable

                                   Nontoxic inflatable toy materials

        More inflatable toy manufacturers are switching to chemically safe and "green" plastic.

        China suppliers of inflatable toys are adopting nonhazardous materials amid heightened overseas restrictions for phthalate-containing PVC, which is predominantly employed in the line.

        After the EU and the US began regulating the use of the substance, countries such as Canada, Japan, Malaysia and Argentina followed suit. Both the 2009/48/EC and CPSIA limit DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP content to below 1,000ppm.

        More manufacturers are therefore utilizing 6P PVC even for designs catering to less stringent markets. This way, businesses can ensure and sustain product quality across all export destinations. Just a few makers continue to adopt 3P and conventional variants for lower-priced models, and only on request.

         Phthalate-free PVC is widely processed using acetyl tributyl citrate plasticizers. Apart from being chemically safer, ATBC is biodegradable, decomposing in soil within merely two days. The substance also heightens durability and prevents yellowing after UV exposure.

         EVA, PE and TPU are the other nontoxic material options. The last is the most popular choice next to PVC as it withstands oil, mildew, corrosion and dents, and boasts anti-bacterial and -oxidant qualities. Further, TPU can decay in three to five years when put under natural ecological conditions.

         Inflatable toys from China are available in a range of styles, including balls and swim rings. There are also ride-on models in animal, cartoon, automobile, plane, boat or lounger designs.

         Releases shorter than 0.5m are generally considered small. Medium products measure between 0.6 and 0.8m, and larger ones can reach 1 to 1.5m.

         The thickness of the material used depends on the dimensions and intended function of the toy. To illustrate, 0.18 to 0.25mm plastic sheets are usually for small swim rings and loungers. Bigger models employ 0.4 to 1mm film, which boasts better durability. These are typical for large beach toys.

         Prices are mainly determined by the material utilized. Given similar sizes, items made of 6P PVC or PE are 10 to 20 percent more expensive than those in regular or 3P PVC. EVA releases are 50 percent higher, while TPU versions are double the value of 6P variants.

         Product dimensions also influence quotes in terms of input consumption. Toys smaller than 0.5m are $0.10 to $2, with intermediate types at $0.55 to $1. Models between 0.5 and 2m start at $2 and can exceed $8. Larger variants are generally more than $10.

         Quotes increased 7 to 10 percent in recent months amid rising material costs. In particular, 6P PVC sheet rates climbed from $1,923 per ton to $2,460 YoY.

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