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This past August Congress passed a consumer safety bill that Liz Szabo from USA Today says is “a sweeping bill.” The bill bans phthalates (chemicals) in products for children under the age of 12. Some studies have suggested phthalates can interfere with the hormone system. This consumer safety bill takes effect on February 10th. The bill was backed by Democratic California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

However, federal safety regulators said a couple days ago that it this ban will not apply to goods already on store shelves or in warehouses. This means that toys already created with phthalates before this ban will still be marketed and sold to consumers.

Annys Shin of the Washington Post reports that consumer advocates have said this decision will cause some confusion for consumers. Anyone purchasing a toy like a rubber ducky will not know if it was made recently or back before the ban was passed. On the other side, some are happy about the decision. Washington Post reports Kathleen McHugh (president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (who also represents some small toy makers)) saying, “I’m glad to hear they are grandfathering product[s] already in place because there is dispute about whether those phthalates are harmful, and what are they going to replace them with.”

This decision is definitely controversial and raises questions about the intent behind the original ban. Will allowing toys with phthalates to be sold in markets around our country go to the purpose of the consumer safety bill banning that very chemical in products for children?

USA Today says, “Some supporters of the legislation [say] the agency is undermining the goal of a law meant to protect their children.”

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