Recent headlines across the country warn consumers with young infants about the dangers of toxic toys. Within the last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; over 65 different brands of children’s toys have been recalled. Several concerns regarding the overall safety and ingestion of certain chemicals, (i.e. bisphenols, phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) and lead) have garnered worldwide media attention.
Recognizing the importance of this issue, Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples (141st A.D.) recently co-sponsored bill A.6829. This bill would prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or sale of toys and child care products containing phthalates or bisphenol-A that are intended for children under three years of age.
The United States is one of a few countries that still permit the import of plastic toys made with the polyvinyl chloride additives, also known as phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals added to plastic to make it soft and flexible. Among other things, they are used in soft plastic toys and other baby products, such as teethers, bath books and rubber ducks. Plastic rubber duckies that have been floating in American bathtubs for years are squishy, durable and flexible because of the presence of phthalates. Phthalates are not chemically bonded to the plastic; therefore, these toxic chemicals are easily released. Since children have a natural tendency to suck on objects as a way of exploring items and their textures, phthalates can leak out of the plastic toys and enter their vulnerable bodies and systems.
As a result of extensive research across the country, bisphenol-A has been found to interrupt the functioning of the hormone system which is linked to reproductive complications, early onset of puberty, liver and thyroid damage and testicular cancer.
Assemblymember Peoples, a constant supporter of health and safety issues, stated, “It is time for action to take place on the state-level even if progress is slow on the national level. We can not sit back and watch our children become affected by chemicals when we can prevent it. This bill would significantly reduce exposure to these chemicals and the threat of danger to our children.”
For more information on recent recalls, please visit www.recalls.gov, a federal government website that serves as a one-stop shop for consumers and provides the latest information on recalled products. Well-known toy-manufacturer Mattel has a website, www.mattel.com/safety/us, which details the long list of Mattel toys that have been recently recalled. They are also accessible using the Mattel hotline at 1-888-496-8330.
The State’s Attorney General Website, www.oag.state.ny.us/consumer/consumer_issues.html, its Consumer Helpline at 1-800-771-7755 and the New York State Consumer Protection Board’s site at www.consumer.state.ny.us also provide important recall information and product warnings. Consumers can find recalls by date, company and product description by checking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at www.cpsc.gov or by calling 1-800-638-2772.