Health Team

Chemicals in plastic toys could harm children's health

Posted November 10, 2008

Parents need to do their homework before they start Christmas shopping, especially when it comes to toys. Plastic toys that will be banned in February might still be on store shelves next month.

Beginning next year, the U.S. will begin a ban on chemical compounds called phthalates. The chemicals help make the plastic in toys soft, but they can cause reproductive defects in young children.

Some lawmakers said they worry that toy makers and distributors will try to flood the market with the toys before the ban starts.

“We would hope that all the of the toys that come into the U.S. are safe for the age they are recommended for. And if they’ve done studies that this could be a concern, then we need to pay attention to it,” said toy store owner Teresa Neumann.

Many toy stores already carry more toys labeled as phthalate-free. Since the European Union banned phthalates a couple of years ago, any plastic toys made in countries like France and Germany won't have the chemical compound in them either.

That’s good news to parents like Petrina Zaraszczak, who says her children’s health is nothing to play with.

“If there is something that is out there, and we know it’s harmful, then we should do our job to protect them from it,” she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • PaulRevere Nov 11, 2008

    People, just live your life. Don't let these helicopter "experts" hover over your life!

  • scientistjo Nov 11, 2008

    Why is everyone an expert on everything, iureport?

  • bammer66 Nov 11, 2008

    its not just toys... look around school or the office's of america.. you ... yeah you... get that plastic pen out of your mouth... throw away those mcdonalds straws.

  • iureport Nov 6, 2008

    It’s important to note that not all phthalates are the same – and toys which contain these chemicals may be safer than those that don’t. A specific chemical property of phthalates, known as molecular weight, make an enormous difference in their molecular behavior and human effects. The recent legislation passed by Congress permanently bans low molecular weight phthalates such as DEHP and BBP, which will no longer be used in items meant for children. But recognizing these differences, Congress put a much narrower, temporary hold of high molecular weight phthalates such as DINP and DIDP until further study can be done to confirm their safety. DINP, the most common phthalate used in children’s toys, has been extensively tested by multiple government and regulatory bodies in the U.S. and E.U. and proven safe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded there is “no demonstrated health risk” from DINP and “no justification” for banning its use. Former Surgeon General C