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- Thursday, October 13, 2005, in the San Jose Mercury News
"Toxic chemicals found in some children's toys"
Bay City News Service
SAN FRANCISCO - Babies who use plastic toys may be at risk later in life,
according to a report released Wednesday that shows that many products used by
babies and young children contain toxic chemicals.
Phthalates and toxic flame-retardants were present in 18 of 25 products tested
by the Environment California Research and Policy Center and the U.S. PIRG
Education Fund. The study, which was motivated by existing bans on six types of
phthalates in Europe, was released today.
The report calls for a ban on the most toxic chemicals in children's products,
including flame retardants known as PBDEs and 6 types of phthalates. There are
currently no restrictions on phthalates in children's products. A statewide ban
on the manufacture and distribution of two PBDEs, Penta and Octa, will take
effect on June 1, 2006.
AB319, written by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, aims to ban phthalates
from products used by children under 3. If passed, it would go into effect Jan.
Phthalates, which make plastics soft and pliable, are commonly found in baby
products such as plastic teething rings and plastic books, and in personal care
products. PBDEs are present in products such as electronics casing, furniture
foam and fabric backing.
According to the report, "phthalates are linked to premature birth,
reproductive defects and early onset puberty." The report cites a study of
85 babies by Dr. Shanna Swan at the University of Rochester School of Medicine
and Dentistry, which found that prenatal exposure to phthalates can affect
genital development in boys.
Some children's products labeled "phthalate-free" or
"non-toxic" tested positive in the study, and Environment California
recommends using wooden toys as a safer alternative to plastic.
The best way to ensure that plastic toys are phthalate-free is to contact
manufacturers directly, said Rachel Gibson of Environment California.
Tara Wolfson of San Francisco, the mother of an 8-month-old named Petra, said
that toxic chemicals in children's products are a societal problem. "I'm
sad that the burden has to fall on me as a mother," she said.
Not every parent has the time to investigate products their children use daily,
she said, adding that her "buying wooden blocks won't protect the child
Guidelines for parents can be found at http://www.environmentcalifornia.org
You can read the full report and take a survey on toxics in kid's toys here:
Please help continue to build the momentum of this important issue by
encouraging Governor Schwarzenegger to protect children's health by banning
toxic chemicals from baby products. Then, ask your family and friends to
help by forwarding this email to them.
To take action, click on this link or paste it into your web browser:
Environment California Legislative Director
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