House and Senate lawmakers agreed to ban the use of a group of harmful phthalate chemicals in toys and other children's products this week. The move is a big victory for parents and health experts who have been fighting for the government to set some regulations on what goes into tot toys, according to The Washington Post.
- The movement to ban the toxins accelerated last year when California prohibited their use in children's products.
- The rare action by Congress reflects a growing body of scientific research showing that children ingest the toxins by acts as simple as chewing on a rubber duck. Used for decades in plastic production, the chemicals are now thought to act as hormones and cause reproductive problems, especially in boys.
- Earlier this year, the country's largest retailer, Wal-Mart; the biggest toy seller, Toys R Us; and Babies R Us told their suppliers that they will no longer carry products containing the chemicals, known as phthalates, as of Jan. 1, 2009. Toys containing these chemicals, however, will still be on many retail shelves during the holiday season.
A White House spokesman said President Bush opposes the ban, but that it is too early to say whether he will veto the measure.