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Court maintains ban on toxic chemicals in children’s products

A federal Court still holds the Consumer Product Safety Commission ban that keeps some of the most harmful phthalate chemicals out of kids’ plastic toys and other children’s products, such as pacifiers and teething rings.

Jared Knicley, senior attorney at NRDC, which previously had gone to court alongside the Environmental Justice Health Alliance and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners to finalize the ban in 2017 said that there is no doubt that these chemicals are banned. Leaving the ban in place ensures that there’s no gap in this important rule’s protections. The court rejected the argument raised by the chemical industry. The federal court also found mistakes in theCPSC’s rulemaking process.

The agency will have an opportunity to fix those errors before the court takes up any remaining issues with the ban. Knicley said that with the action affecting the health of children, the agency should move quickly to address the procedural issues raised by the court and reaffirm its decision.

Phthalates, a family of chemicals often used as a plastic softener, are frequently found in everyday consumer products such as vinyl flooring, plastic food wrap, and perfumes. Researchers have found that even low levels of exposure to certain phthalates can lead to hormonal disruption and reproductive harm, as well as lasting damage in children’s brain development. U.S. government data show that for many phthalates, exposure is significantly higher in children between ages 6 and 11, as well as in people of color.

Michele Roberts, national co-coordinator of EJHA. said that it is important to remember that for many children, phthalates in toys and pacifiers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exposure to these harmful chemicals. This is especially true for Black, Brown, Native Indigenous Peoples, and poor children across the country and they are greater exposed to phthalates.

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