Congress Moves to Ban Toxin Found in Toys

Bush could yet veto bill including measure to keep phthalates away from children
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2008 1:11 PM CDT
Phthalates, used to make plastics softer and more durable, can be ingested by children chewing on toys, and are thought to cause reproductive problems. They would be banned under a new law.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – 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.)