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Policy

Advisers Call For New Controls On Phthalates

by Britt E. Erickson
July 28, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 30

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should restrict certain phthalates in children’s products and lift bans on other phthalates, concludes an advisory panel convened by the agency. The panel assessed the risks of 14 phthalates and six chemicals used as alternatives to phthalates. Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used in many plastics, inks, paints, and other consumer products. Concerns about antiandrogenic effects of phthalates led Congress in 2008 to ban three phthalates—dibutyl phthalate, n-butyl benzyl phthalate, and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate—in children’s toys and some child care products. Congress also banned, on an interim basis, three other phthalates—diisononyl phthalate (DINP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP), and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP)—in children’s toys. In a report, CPSC’s advisory panel recommends that the interim ban on DINP be made permanent. But it says the bans on DNOP and DIDP should be lifted. The panel also recommends banning four other phthalates—diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-pentyl phthalate, di-n-hexyl phthalate, and dicyclohexyl phthalate—which are not currently restricted. The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, criticized the report, in part because CPSC did not seek public comment on it.

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