Finally, lawmakers in D.C. are taking action against phthalates. It’s about time. At Care2 we’ve been issuing a clarion call against these toxic chemical plasticizers that are commonly used in children’s toys and have been banned for use in children’s toys in Europe since 1999. More than a dozen other countries have banned the chemical, as has California.
According to the Washington Post, federally funded research found that male babies born to women with high levels of phthalates in their blood exhibited changes related to low sperm count, undescended testicles and other reproductive problems. Other studies have connected some phthalates to liver and kidney cancer. Health experts argue that dangers may be more significant from cumulative exposure, because phthalates surround babies not only in toys and products but also in breast milk if the mother has been exposed to the chemicals.
Although it isn’t law yet, the House and the Senate have agreed to ban three types of phthalates from children’s toys as well as three other phthalates. Since U.S. companies make $1.4 billion worth of phthalates a year, you can imagine there was some serious lobbying going on against a ban; Exxon Mobile is a major manufacturer of phthalates. Not all that surprising to find that President Bush opposes the ban, but it is unclear whether or not he will veto the measure. The legislation would also ban lead in children’s products. It is stunning that this isn’t law already.
If you’d like to help, please sign this Consumers Union letter at the Care2 Petition site.
Read the complete Washington Post article here.