In a major victory for public health, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted today, 3-2, to ban several harmful phthalate chemicals from plastic used in children’s toys and child care articles.
The agency finalized its rule on phthalates today in response to a legal settlement approved by a judge in a lawsuit brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA) and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) against the CPSC last December. The final rule permanently bans five types of phthalates from use in children’s toys and child care articles.
“This will especially protect children who face overlapping exposures to phthalates in their communities, in household products, and even in the toys they play with,” said Michele Roberts, National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance.
“CPSC’s action is a major step, but it is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in exposures some face–especially disproportionately exposed Black, Brown and poor communities. It’s unconscionable that our children have been exposed to toxic phthalates despite their known health concerns. These added protections were two years overdue—but this move is better late than never. We ask the CPSC and other government agencies to continue taking sound, science-based steps to protect the health of the most vulnerable among us: our children.”
“At long last, the CPSC is moving in the right direction to phase out the toxic chemicals known as phthalates,” said Jose Bravo, Coordinator for the Campaign for Healthier Solutions. “Our work has just begun. Now we will focus on making sure that products in dollar stores will be truly phthalate free. In many instances, dollar stores are the only places where we can shop. This is our reality as people of color and low-income communities become increasingly healthy food deprived. Literally, the proof will be in the pudding.”
“Parents will rest a little easier tonight now that the CPSC has acted to protect children from dangerous phthalates in toys and childcare articles,” said Nancy Buermeyer, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners senior policy strategist. “When we championed a federal ban on phthalates in toys, we never guessed it would take over nine years to finish the job of protecting children from these hormone-disrupting chemicals, which have been linked to breast cancer and many other health issues!”
“This is a big victory for children’s health,” said Avinash Kar, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council. “These chemicals in children’s toys and child care 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.”