Congressional negotiators have agreed to ban a group of toxins common in children’s toys, part of a consumer-protection bill, the Washington Post reports. The ban mirrors tougher standards at big retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, and, like those bans, wouldn’t take effect until after the holiday season. President Bush opposes the measure, but hasn’t yet promised to veto it.
Research shows that ingesting phthalates can cause reproductive problems later in life. But the chemicals are still common because they make plastic softer and more durable. Exxon Mobil is leading a lobbying charge to kill the bill. “The great fear,” explained one environmental activist, “is that if a big, established chemical like this can be driven from the market, what's next?” (Read more toys stories.)