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Endocrine Disruptors

Court finds flaws in rule on phthalates in children’s products

by Britt E. Erickson
March 5, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 8


A baby chewing on a plastic teething ring.
Credit: Shutterstock
Five phthalates in children’s plastic products remain restricted while US regulators fix procedural problems with the rule.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must fix procedural errors in a 2017 rule that restricts five phthalates in toys, teething rings, and other children’s products, a federal appeals court ruled March 1. The restrictions, which limit di-n-hexyl phthalate, di-n-pentyl phthalate, dicyclohexyl phthalate, diisobutyl phthalate, and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) to no more than 0.1% each in such products, will remain in effect while the CPSC makes the changes. The CPSC determined in 2017 that the five phthalates are harmful to male reproductive development. The chemical industry challenged that determination, claiming that typical exposures to DINP do not pose a risk to human health. Manufacturers have since asked the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the risks of DINP under the Toxic Substances Control Act. That assessment is ongoing. Under the appeals court ruling, the CPSC must give industry an opportunity to comment on the rationale that the agency used to justify its final rule, which differs from the justification used when it proposed the rule in 2014. The CPSC must also consider the costs to industry of prohibiting DINP in children’s products.


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