CPSC Bans Phthalates in Children’s Toys and Other Products

CPSC Bans Phthalates in Children's Toys and Other ProductsThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has banned children’s toys and child care products that contain more than 0.1% of certain phthalate chemicals. Phthalates are chemical compounds that are added to plastics and vinyl to make an item soft and pliable. If a child ingests certain types of phthalates, it can have harmful effects on their health.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) has prohibited more than 0.1% of the 8 phthalates from appearing in, “children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth and child care articles.” The CSPIA defines children’s toys as products designed or intended for play by children 12 years old or younger. Child care articles are products designed to facilitate sleep or feeding of children aged three-years-old or younger, or to help children with sucking or feeding.

Dev Gowda, Toxics Advocate for U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said in a U.S. Public Interest Group release, “Children’s toys should be safe. Parents shouldn’t have to worry that the toys they buy on the shelves contain something that will make their family sick. Teething rings shouldn’t have a chemical that will give your kid asthma or diabetes.”

Why are phthalates dangerous?

A story on CNN.com describes phthalates as, “everywhere chemicals,” because you can find them in so many products that people use every day from your water bottle at the gym shampoo, the wrappers on your fast food and to the flooring in your kitchen and bathroom. Studies have linked these types of chemicals to fertility problems in men and women because they can disrupt the hormones in the human body, and they have connected them to serious illnesses such as cancer, asthma, neurological problems, cardiovascular problems and childhood obesity,

The new rule banning the use of phthalates in children’s toys and child care products is based on recommendations from a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), which has conducted research about what effect phthalates can have on children’s health. In addition to the three phthalates that were banned in 2008, an additional five chemicals based on CHAP’s determination that they can have harmful effects on male reproductive development.

Dr. De-Kun Li, a senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California was quoted in the CNN article in support of the ban on phthalates saying that it is, “the first step in the right direction, but is probably not enough since phthalates are still plentiful out there in consumer products.”

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