Phthalates ban in toys coming soon

I am traveling today and tomorrow for Evonik’s plant groundbreaking event in Mobile, Alabama. The facility will produce alkoxides, which are used as catalysts in biodiesel production.

Aside from the biodiesel industry, Evonik will also give an update on the lithium ion batteries market as well as tidbits on how sea urchins are playing a major role in ensuring clean water for the Mobile area. Those topics should be very interesting to the green chemicals world so stay tune for them.

In the meantime, ICIS News reported yesterday that the US Congress agreed to permanently ban children’s products that contain more than 0.1% di-(2 ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).

Kids’ products that contain more than 0.1% of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) will be temporarily banned pending further studies.

Phthalates are used primarily to make vinyl soft and flexible.

The ban is said to be part of a final bill to reform and expand the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which was heavily criticized this year because of issues such as lead-contained toys from China.

The bill, which will still be voted on by both Senate and Congress, will also include setting new standards for toys; increase CPSC’s annual budget from the current $80 million to $118 million starting in 2010 and growing to $136 million over five years; third-party testing requirements for certain children’s products; and gives CPSC the authority to inspect manufacturers’ proprietary labs.

It will also include protection for whistle-blowers.

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), it supported the Congress’ action to strengthen and fund CPSC but was disappointed in the phthalates ban from products intended for children under the age of 12.

“Our children’s health and safety is too important to rush through product restrictions without understanding their full consequences and ACC believes that restricting phthalates from children’s products, when they have been deemed safe for use in those products by the CPSC, will do nothing to protect children’s health.”

ACC reiterated that there is no scientific basis for Congress to restrict phthalates from toys and children’s products. Phthalates are said to be the most thoroughly studied chemical in the world reviewed by multiple regulatory bodies in the US and Europe for over 50 years.

[Photo from Swedish Chemicals Agency KEMI]

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