New US law targets children’s toys containing phthalates

10 February 2009 22:18  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US toy distributors nationwide were dealing with a new federal law on Tuesday that mandates tougher chemical and lead standards for toys, according to news media reports.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 went into effect on Tuesday.

The law is aimed at children’s products containing lead and some forms of phthalates, which are used to soften plastic and have been linked in studies to reproductive damage in children.

The law dictates that no more than one-tenth of 1% of phthalates can be in any toy or child care product.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission had interpreted the law to only apply to children’s products and care items manufactured beginning on Tuesday. The commission said the law could not be applied retroactively to include all such products already in stores’ inventories.

However, the US District Court in New York ruled last week that the act applies to retailers’ current inventories, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued a statement following the ruling saying it supported the commission as it implements the law. The ACC did not address the specifics of the court ruling.

Leading toy distributors, including Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart and Target, said they would comply with the law, but it was not clear how retailers would know which products were subject the restrictions, according to the Associated Press. Many toys currently on the shelves were manufactured months in advance and before the ruling, according to the Associated Press.

Small businesses have complained that the testing requirements will place too large of a financial burden on distributors who are already struggling with a weak economy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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By: Ben DuBose
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