Return to Children's Page

<--Return to Main Info

  • Thursday, October 13, 2005, in the San Jose Mercury News 

    "Toxic chemicals found in some children's toys"
    Bay City News Service

    SAN FRANCISCO - Babies who use plastic toys may be at risk later in life, according to a report released Wednesday that shows that many products used by babies and young children contain toxic chemicals.

    Phthalates and toxic flame-retardants were present in 18 of 25 products tested by the Environment California Research and Policy Center and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. The study, which was motivated by existing bans on six types of phthalates in Europe, was released today.

    The report calls for a ban on the most toxic chemicals in children's products, including flame retardants known as PBDEs and 6 types of phthalates. There are currently no restrictions on phthalates in children's products. A statewide ban on the manufacture and distribution of two PBDEs, Penta and Octa, will take effect on June 1, 2006.

    AB319, written by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, aims to ban phthalates from products used by children under 3. If passed, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2007.

    Phthalates, which make plastics soft and pliable, are commonly found in baby products such as plastic teething rings and plastic books, and in personal care products. PBDEs are present in products such as electronics casing, furniture foam and fabric backing.

    According to the report, "phthalates are linked to premature birth, reproductive defects and early onset puberty." The report cites a study of 85 babies by Dr. Shanna Swan at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, which found that prenatal exposure to phthalates can affect genital development in boys.

    Some children's products labeled "phthalate-free" or "non-toxic" tested positive in the study, and Environment California recommends using wooden toys as a safer alternative to plastic.

    The best way to ensure that plastic toys are phthalate-free is to contact manufacturers directly, said Rachel Gibson of Environment California.

    Tara Wolfson of San Francisco, the mother of an 8-month-old named Petra, said that toxic chemicals in children's products are a societal problem. "I'm sad that the burden has to fall on me as a mother," she said.

    Not every parent has the time to investigate products their children use daily, she said, adding that her "buying wooden blocks won't protect the child next door."

    Guidelines for parents can be found at


    You can read the full report and take a survey on toxics in kid's toys here:

    Please help continue to build the momentum of this important issue by encouraging Governor Schwarzenegger to protect children's health by banning toxic chemicals from baby products.  Then, ask your family and friends to help by forwarding this email to them.

    To take action, click on this link or paste it into your web browser:


    Dan Jacobson
    Environment California Legislative Director
  • For Simple Ways to Fundraise using Safe, Non Toxic Products people use everyday

top of page

Copyright All rights reserved.

Telephone 310-457-5176 or -377-77 | Fax 77-5-4657 | For General Information

Webmaster for Shelley R. Kramer