Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Toxic Toys? After Nine Years, a Ban on Harmful Chemicals Becomes Official

Health + Wellness
Toxic Toys? After Nine Years, a Ban on Harmful Chemicals Becomes Official
Mladen Kostic / iStock

Phthalates are a particularly harmful type of chemical, used, among a range of other ways, to soften plastic in children's toys and products like pacifiers and teething rings. In response to mounting concern about the serious health impacts of phthalates—most notably, interference with hormone production and reproductive development in young children—Congress voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to outlaw the use of a few phthalates in these products and ordered the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to assess the use of other types of the chemical in these products. After much delay, the CPSC voted 3–2 Wednesday to ban five additional types of phthalates in kids' toys and childcare products.


"This is a big victory for children's health," Avinash Kar, a senior attorney in the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Health and Environment program, said about the decision. "These chemicals in children's toys and childcare articles are a known health risk. In banning them, CPSC is following the advice of its scientific experts and doing precisely what Congress directed the agency to do in a 2008 law it passed overwhelmingly."

The CPSC proposed a ban on the five additional types of phthalates in late 2014 but blew past its January 2015 deadline to finalize the rule. Much of the delay can be attributed to the efforts of phthalate-manufacturing chemical companies like ExxonMobil to sway the agency to reverse its decision. In December 2016, NRDC, along with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and Environmental Justice Health Alliance, sued to force the agency to make a final decision. The case ended up being settled, and the CPSC agreed to take a final vote on the phthalates rule by Wednesday.

While much work is still needed to address phthalate exposure in this and other contexts, Kar views this as a major step forward. "Today's [Wednesday] decision takes the protections that we helped enforce back in 2009 further. This vote means that children will be exposed to fewer dangerous chemicals in the products they come into contact with every day. And that is a good thing."

Residents get in a car after leaving their homes to move to evacuation centers in central Vietnam's Quang Nam province on Oct. 27, 2020, ahead of Typhoon Molave's expected landfall. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Typhoon Molave is expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday with 90 mph winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding and landslides, according to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. To prepare for the powerful storm that already tore through the Philippines, Vietnam is making plans to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people along the central coast, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Chipotle's "Real Foodprint" will tell you the ecological footprint of each menu item compared to the industry standard. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

How does your burrito impact the environment? If you ordered it from Chipotle, there is now a way to find out.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Are you noticing your shirts becoming too tight fitting to wear? Have you been regularly visiting a gym, yet it seems like your effort is not enough? It's okay to get disappointed, but not to lose hope.

Read More Show Less
Locals check out the new stretch of artificial beach in Manila Bay, Philippines on Sept, 19, 2020. patrickroque01 / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

By Sarah Steffen

A stretch of coastline in the Philippine capital, Manila has received backlash from environmentalists. The heavily polluted Manila Bay area, which had been slated for cleanup, has become the site of a controversial 500-meter (1,600-foot) stretch of white sand beach.

Read More Show Less
An illustration highlights the moon's Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there. NASA / Daniel Rutter

A pair of studies released Monday confirmed not only the presence of water and ice on the moon, but that it is more abundant than scientists previously thought. Those twin discoveries boost the prospect of a sustainable lunar base that could harvest the moon's resources to help sustain itself, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch