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Lawmakers Agree to Ban Dangerous Chemicals in Toys
Date:7/29/2008

Major milestone reached for children's health and for chemical regulation

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lawmakers charged with finalizing the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act agreed yesterday to include a provision that will ban phthalates from children's toys and childcare articles. The legislative action validates the concerns of scientists and parents who have been urging a ban, and will bring federal regulation in line with several states and leading retailers that have already taken action to remove phthalates from toys.

Phthalates are chemical substances used to make plastic toys like rubber ducks and bath books soft and flexible. When children put these toys in their mouths, the phthalates can easily leach from toy to child. Phthalates have been linked to serious health concerns including birth defects, early puberty in girls (a risk factor for breast cancer) and liver cancer.

Retailers and manufacturers including Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, Lego, Evenflo and Gerber have announced plans to phase out phthalates. California, Washington and Vermont have passed laws restricting phthalate use in children's products. Phthalates are also banned or restricted in the European Union and more than a dozen countries around the world.

"This legislation is a victory for children's health and safety," said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund, "and a major blow to the chemical industry, which spent millions of dollars trying to defeat it. Congress took a first, important step toward reforming the way chemicals are regulated in this country. It's a great start and an indication that our lawmakers are ready to consider the kind of sweeping reform that's needed."

The broad-based national effort that convinced Congress to consider the phthalates ban points to a growing movement of parents, health care professionals, and environmental health and breast cancer prevention advocates
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SOURCE Breast Cancer Fund
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