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CPSC Sued Over Phthalates

Dec 5, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is being sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen, two consumer advocacy groups, Reuters is reporting.  The issue is phthalates, toxic plastic-softening chemicals that are in some children’s toys and products.   

Some studies have linked phthalates to a variety of health issues that include hormonal problems in children, said Reuters. Congress recently enacted legislation to ban phthalates in children's toys and products that is set to go into effect  on February 10, 2009.

According to Reuters, both groups filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.  The lawsuits allege that the CPSC is in legal violation by not moving forward with the approved ban on toxic toys.  The groups claim that the CPSC appears to be looking to only implement parts of the ban. noted that the CPSC seems to be working in the interests of big business at the expense of America’s children and babies.

The consumer groups’ lawsuit says that even though the February 10, 2009 ban mandates otherwise, the CPSC is allowing toxic toys and children’s products to be made prior to the ban, said Reuters.  This means that toxic toys will not only continue to be sold in stores prior to the ban, they could very well be sold after the ban’s implementation date, which many feel goes against the original intent of the ban.

Although the CPSC is responsible for implementing the new ban, the lawsuit stresses that the CPSC’s policy "will cause both direct harm to individuals exposed to these chemicals in children's products and consumer confusion about which products sold in stores comply with the phthalate ban," Reuters said.   The suit is looking to overturn the CPSC's decision and ensure the ban will be applied to all children's toys and products sold after February 10, no matter what the manufacture date.  

Julie Vallese, spokesperson for commission said to Reuters that the CPSC is enforcing the law that Congress wrote:  "When it comes to safety, the CPSC does not look for loopholes," she said. "We are fully committed to protecting families." states that the CPSC has interpreted the law in such a way that it only applies to children’s toys and products made after the ban’s date, allowing toxic products to be sold and manufactured until February.  In doing so, children’s toys and products containing hormone-interrupting chemicals will be in children’s hands this holiday season.

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