Experts urge safety probe of plastics chemicals

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators should examine whether a controversial class of chemicals found in many plastic products including children’s toys can hurt people, a panel of experts said on Thursday.

A panel of the independent National Research Council said the scientific evidence justifies an Environmental Protection Agency assessment of the health effects from cumulative exposure to chemicals known as phthalates.

Phthalates, which make plastic products soft and flexible, have been used commercially for decades. They are different from another chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, found in plastic products including baby bottles that has also come under health scrutiny. The Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe at current levels of exposure but plans more research.

Animal studies cited by the panel indicated that exposure to phthalates affected male reproductive system development. Some phthalates reduce levels of the male hormone testosterone. Studies also link phthalates to liver cancer, the panel said.

If the EPA does an assessment, it could lead to new regulations on products with phthalates, the panel said.

“If we don’t do this as a cumulative risk assessment focused on these adverse effects, we’re going to be underestimating risks,” said panel chairwoman, Deborah Cory-Slechta of the University of Rochester.

Phthalates have been used in toys, cosmetics, personal-care products, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cleaning and building materials. They have been found in products such as teethers and pacifiers that babies put in their mouths.

President George W. Bush signed a law this year banning three types of phthalates in children’s toys and child care items, except for minute amounts, while temporarily banning three others pending further study. The same six phthalates have been banned in European toys for nearly a decade.

Chris Bryant of the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, expressed concern about the panel’s recommendations, saying Congress had already asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a risk assessment on phthalates.

Bryant said the panel’s proposal for such a broad EPA risk assessment “essentially could result in a study without limits, financially or otherwise.”

Some retailers including Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have announced plans to phase out phthalates in toys.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Alan Elsner)

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Martha Graybow NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two public advocacy groups sued the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday, saying the commission is acting unlawfully by not planning to fully implement a new ban on toys containing toxic chemicals. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says that, contrary to a new ban that

Full Post: Consumer commission sued over chemicals in toys
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people may be surprised by the number of chemicals they are exposed to through everyday household products, a small study finds, suggesting, researchers say, that consumers need to learn more about sources of indoor pollution. In interviews with 25 women who’d had their homes and bodies tested for

Full Post: Pollution at home often lurks unrecognized
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A combination of sunlight exposure and low blood levels of antioxidants may make older adults more vulnerable to a common vision-robbing disease called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, researchers have found. In a study of older adults from seven European countries, investigators found that among those with relatively low

Full Post: Sunlight, lack of antioxidants tied to eye disease
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Research from Italy provides new evidence that exposure to the industrial solvent benzene increases a person’s risk of developing multiple myeloma. Dr. Adele Seniori Constantini of the Center for Study and Prevention of Cancer and her colleagues also found an increased risk of chronic lymphoid leukemia with benzene exposure. Two other

Full Post: New study backs solvent, leukemia link
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Mattel Inc, the world’s largest toymaker, reached a $12 million settlement with 39 U.S. states over lead-tainted toys that prompted a health scare in 2007, the Massachusetts attorney general said on Monday. The settlement, which came after a wave of scandals involving a slew of Chinese manufacturers, came near the peak

Full Post: States settle with Mattel on lead toys

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search