California to ban phthlataes in children's products

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Phthalates are chemical substances used to soften and smooth plastics. The use of these chemicals is common in many children's products, including teething rings and rubber duckies.

The European union , as well as 14 other countries, banned the use of the chemical after studies found that it mimics estrogen and could result in developmental problems in children, including the early onset of puberty in girls and low sperm count in boys.

In the U.S., scientists are still debating the health risks and toy manufacturers say there is no reason to worry. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission studied the issue in 1998 and found that few, if any, children were are risk due to the low levels that can be ingested by sucking on toys.

In 1986, California listed phthalates as a toxin and began requiring businesses to post warning about the dangers. In San Francisco, an ordinance was passed last year banning the chemical, but that drew legal action from the chemical and toy industries who say only the federal government has the power to regulate consumer products.

Now, California is taking it a step further and looking at a statewide bill that would ban the chemicals from products meant for children under three years of age. I am sure that this ban would have far-reaching economic implications for the chemical and toy industries. Do you suppose that is why the U.S. government is reluctant to act? Or are phthalates really not as dangerous as California is making them out to be?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.