Citing a new toy safety report, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is calling for federal reforms to ban a list of potentially dangerous chemicals – including phthalates – that are often found in children’s products. The report, produced by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), a watchdog organization, identified choking hazards and toxicity in a range of popular toys carried by retailers.
“Parents deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the toys they buy for their children are safe, not harmful,” said Gillibrand. “This report highlights the urgent need to take steps to prevent these toxic and dangerous toys from ever reaching our store shelves and homes.”
At a press conference in New York, Gillibrand announced she will introduce legislation to permanently ban six phthalates in all kids’ items. Gillibrand’s bill would build on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which Congress passed in 2008, by banning phthalates in all items used by children ages 12 and younger. Current laws simply restrict phthalates in products designated as toys.
“A lot of toys that are coming into this country, we don’t actually have the capacity to make sure they are all tested and to make sure they all comply,” Gillibrand said. “Because it’s not labeled as a toy, it’s exempt from current regulations. We need to pass legislation that protects all children.”
Phthalates, which are commonly used to soften plastics, can be toxic to children in some cases, according to researchers. In recent years, phthalates have been phased out by many domestic manufacturers, although the NYPIRG study shows the chemicals are still contained in widely-available toys.