Toxic chemicals banned in toys.
Thousands of our supporters wrote members of Congress to help
overcome heavy lobbying by ExxonMobil who manufactures
The legislation will cover products made for children up to 12
years of age, ranging from baby teethers to Barbie dolls.
Unfortunately, the new law will not cover vinyl products that
aren't playthings, although every parent knows that everything in
the home has the potential to be sucked on or put in a child's
mouth. Vinyl products not covered by the legislation include car
safety seats, clothing, children's furniture and other vinyl
household products ranging from shower curtains to floor and wall
coverings. The law also does not cover other chemicals such as
bisphenol-a (BPA), which has been found in polycarbonate plastic
Greenpeace's Toxics Campaign
Since 1996 Greenpeace has led global campaigns to eliminate the
use of these chemicals in toys and other consumer products. We were
the first organization to expose that vinyl toys contained toxic
chemicals after testing a wide range of children's products.
As one industry scientist admitted, phthalatesare easily
released from vinyl products like water from a "moist sponge"
whenchildren chew or suck on them. Eliminating exposures to toxic
chemicals iscritical, especially among young children. Phthalates
present a number ofhealth conerns; some are classified in Europe as
'toxic to reproduction' whileothers are toxic to the liver and
kidney, albeit at higher doses.
If President Bush signs this new US law, it will permanently
eliminate the use of three phthalates used in vinyl children's
products. It will also ban three additional phthalates until more
thorough safety tests are completed.
Eliminating Toxic Dangers
As one industry scientist admitted, phthalates are easily
released from vinyl products like water from a "moist sponge" when
children chew or suck on them. Eliminating exposures to toxic
chemicals is critical, especially among young children. Phthalates
can have a wide variety of health effects ranging from deformation
of reproductive organs to damage to kidneys.
Vinyl plastics or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can contain more
toxic additives than any other plastic. Phthalates are added to
make vinyl soft and flexible and can account for 20 to 30 percent
of the product (
read our 2001 report This Vinyl House). Other additives that
have been found in vinyl include heavy metals such as lead.
Congress and the President Must
In order to address these toxic hazards, Congress must take a
bigger step by overhauling US chemical policy. Several states are
beginning to do this and in 2007 the EU adopted a new chemicals
policy (REACH) that prohibits the marketing of chemicals in
products that have not been fully tested for their health
andstipulates substitution of hazardous chemicals by safer
alternatives. In 2009, Congress should finish the job and enact
comprehensive reform of U.S. chemical policy to eliminate these
toxic hazards in products and require the use of safer substitutes
that will protect our families.
However, this new law is a critical first step that ExxonMobil
spent millions to stop, and will likely lean on President Bush to
veto. If you'd like to help you can call the White House today
at +1 (202) 456-1414 and urge President Bush to sign the Consumer
Product Safety Commission Authorization bill.
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