US Congress Passes Bill Banning Lead and Phthalates in Products That Could Cause Injuries to Children

In the wake of last year’s mass recalls of 45 million toys and other products due to the potential hazard they could pose to children, both the US Senate and the House of Representatives have approved a bill banning lead and six kinds of phthalates in products made for kids under age 12. The bill mandates that all toys in the United States undergo testing for dangerous chemicals before they are allowed to enter the marketplace—a definite change from the current approach, which allows untested toys to be sold and then later recalled.

Dangers of Lead
Exposure to high levels of lead can lead to serious health issues for kids, including lead poisoning, seizures, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, brain damage, and death. Many kids’ toys were recalled last year because lead levels in their paints were excessively high. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission made it illegal 30 years ago to use paint with over .06% of lead on toys, most of the toys recalled were made in China.

The bill also increases the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s budget to $118 million in 2010 and $136 million in 2015. The CPSC would also be required to put up a Web site where consumer complaints would be posted.

The Toy Industry Association says the bill will make it easier for manufacturers, who can then follow national guidelines rather than having to look to the different state laws. The measure now goes to President Bush.

Danger of Phthalates
Certain animal tests have indicated that exposure to phthalates may lead to lower testosterone and genetic defects in boys, early puberty in girls, and impaired sperm in men. Phthalates can often be found in baby bottles, rubber ducks, teething rings, and other products for kids.

Not toying around: Congress OKs bill to ban chemicals in some products, USA Today.com, August 2, 2008
Bill targets toy safety, ChicagoTribune.com, July 29, 2008
Related Web Resources:

Phthalates Information Center

Why Is Lead in Toys?, Wnep.com
H.R. 4040 The Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act


If your child was seriously injured or died from exposure to lead or phthalates in a toy or another product, our Portland personal injury law firm would like to offer you a free consultation. We have helped many Oregon families recover compensation in all kinds of cases involving injuries to minors.

Contact Matthew D. Kaplan, Attorney at Law today.