After much searching for misplaced remotes, we decided to remove the batteries from a few old remotes and dubbed them "the kids' remotes". They got to think they were getting away with something and we get to save hours of searching time before we can operate the dvd player.
I never really thought about there being hazardous chemicals in them. We knew about toxins in just about everything else - carpeting, a new bookcase, plastic bottles, new clothes - but it never really occurred to me that my tv remote would be treated with PBDE's, or chemical fire retardants. They are most commonly found in polyurethane foam products and electronics.
I tossed the play remotes in the trash, along with a decommissioned cell phone that little man liked to 'talk on' sometimes. He doesn't miss the remotes or the phone and I am glad I happened on a little blurb in a magazine mentioning the possible risk.
Check out this link to learn more about PBDE's.