Congress passes Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act 7/30/2008
The U.S. Congress, in the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 4040), has agreed to ban children's toys that contain more than 0.1% of certain phthalates.
Renosol Corporation does not use the phthalates in question:
|DEHP||Di- (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate||Banned|
|BBP||Benzyl butyl phthalate||Banned|
|DINP||Diisononyl phthalate||Prohibited pending further research|
|DIDP||Diisodecyl phthalate||Prohibited pending further research|
|DOP||di-n-octyl phthalate||Prohibited pending further research|
Phthalates are used, as the media has reported, to soften products and to enhance their appearance. They are part of a suite of plasticizers that perform this function: the choice of plasticizer is based on compatibility with other components of a particular formulation, as well as the specific features the ingredient imparts to the product.
Plasticizers can be derived not only from petroleum, as the media has reported, but also from soybeans and other vegetable oils. Vegetable-based plasticizers - although they provide some benefits over petroleum based plasticizers - have typically been used as secondary plasticizers because of higher prices and various compatibility problems.
Some publications have made much of the fact that consumer products contain high percentages of phthalates. In order to make a soft vinyl product, plasticizer content commonly varies from 35% to 65% of a PVC formulation.
Plasticizer safety has been studied numerous times in its 50+ year history. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded in 1998 that "few if any" children were at risk from DINP in baby rattles and toys because the amount ingested fell far below the levels that would pose harm.(1) This was their stance again in 2001 when they declined to ban the use of DINP in toys, stating that there is "no demonstrated health risk" from its use in toys, and "no justification" for banning its use." Although members of Congress have relied on recent studies that show problems with the banned phthalates, the jury is still out. Conclusions are not uniform, and replacement materials not well researched.
Renosol Corporation supports ongoing research, and believes it is important that the scientific process be used to as the basis for any decision relative to phthalates and their alternatives. It is also important to be clear about the specific chemical identity when discussing health hazards, because there are differences between plasticizers and phthalates. A few useful links are listed below.
Phthalate Information Center - links to research, and general information about phthalates and their use
Phthalates Information Centre Europe - includes links to current EU government studies relative to phthalates, and specific information about various types of phthalates
Consumer Protection Agency - government agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of "serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction." Includes agency findings relative to phthalates and other products.
Renosol strives to utilize safe materials and processes. We encourage questions from our customers and from the public. firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml99/99031.html. In spite of this conclusion by the CPSC, numerous toy manufacturers agreed to exclude DINP from their products.