NEW YORK CITY -- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is calling for new federal reforms that would completely ban several chemicals now allowed in toys and other common items marketed to children.
Gillibrand said she plans to introduce legislation to permanently ban six phthalates in all children's products. Phthalates are linked to cancer, birth defects and asthma, and the feds cap their presence in plastics used for toys to 1,000 parts per million.
In 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which banned three types of phthalates in toys and temporarily banned three other types of the chemical.
President Obama signed a law in 2011 designed to provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission with greater authority and discretion in enforcing consumer product safety laws. | SEE STORY
Despite these measures, manufacturers are still allowed to put phthalates in other products that children use daily, including backpacks and pencil cases. Gillibrand's bill would go a step further than the current ban to include all products used by children, not just toys, for those ages 12 and younger.
The senator was joined in early December by New York Public Interest Research Group, and New York City parents, in unveiling NYPIRG's annual toy safety report, "Treacherous Toys: Dangerous and Toxic Toys on New York's Store Shelves."
The report, which offers safety guidelines for purchasing toys for children, showed 14 potentially unsafe types of toys and children's products that were available in more than 35 stores across the state, as recently as this month. Seven toys reportedly posed a choking hazard, three toys and children's products tested positive for toxic substances, and two toys posed an impact hazard. Surveyors also identified toys that pose risks to children's eyes and magnetic toy hazards.
Click here for a list of hazards highlighted in the report.