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Congress Goes Hard on Toxic Toys

August 8, 2008

Washington, D.C. - Toys sold in Michigan could be a little safer very soon. The President is expected to sign a bill that would ban several types of phthalates, chemicals used in plastic toys and many other products, which are suspected of causing cancer and other health problems.

Andy Igrejas, manager of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ environmental health campaign, says the reform is long overdue, but the toy ban won't keep families completely safe.

"Children are exposed to phthalates from other products, like shower curtains and vinyl flooring. They're also exposed to other chemicals, some of which have toxic properties."

The bill also strengthens the Consumer Product Safety Commission, something Igrejas says is long overdue, because the system meant to protect consumers has been broken for a long time.

"This kind of thing isn't an aberration. The policy that is supposed to make sure chemicals are safe really doesn’t work."

Critics of the ban say some phthalates are safe for kids and have been better-tested than the alternatives. Currently, the chemicals are banned in three U.S. states and Europe.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - MI