A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can’t let toys containing toxic manufacturing chemicals remain on store shelves now that the ban has taken effect. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said the commission, whose role is to protect the public from dangerous goods, must eliminate a loophole that lets the substances remain in toys made before the ban’s effective date. Manufacturers have said they would have to pull hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of products from store shelves to comply, but consumer advocates called the ruling a victory for children’s health.
CPSC will not appeal the ruling, which relates to phthalates, chemicals used to soften plastics. These chemicals are commonly found in bath toys, books, teethers, bibs, dolls and plastic figures. Phthalates can be absorbed through the mouth or skin, interfering with reproductive hormones. A federal law signed last summer bans the chemicals from toys. Two consumer advocacy groups, Public Citizen and the Natural Resources Defense Council, sued the CPSC in December. The groups said the agency created a loophole by saying the ban didn’t apply to toys or child-care products manufactured before February 10th.
Aaron Colangelo, the lawyer who argued the case for the NRDC, described the ruling as “a big win for children’s health and for consumer safety.” Adding, “without this ruling, consumers buying toys after February 10 would have no way of knowing whether they contain phthalates or not.” The judge’s ruling said the text of the law banning phthalates “provides unequivocally and unambiguously that no covered products may be sold as of February 10, 2009.” Hopefully, this will wind this matter up in the U.S. Phthalates already have been banned in some places around the world, so phthalate-free products are already available to toy companies.
Source: Associated Press
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