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Ban On Toxins In Children's Items Seen As Watershed Legislation

A ban on toxins found in children's products agreed to by Congressional negotiators on Monday signals a crack in the chemical industry's ability to fend off federal regulation and suggests that the landscape may be shifting to favor consumers. A White House spokesman says that President Bush opposes the ban but that it is too early to say whether he will veto the measure, which is part of legislation to reform the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed to permanently ban three types of phthalates from children's toys and to outlaw three other phthalates from products pending a study of their effects in children and pregnant women. Phthalates make plastics softer and more durable and also are added to perfumes, shampoos and other items. They are so ubiquitous that in one 1999 study, the Food and Drug Administration found traces in all of its 1,000 subjects.

Daryl Ditz, senior policy adviser at the Center for International Environmental Law, says industry views the ban as a benchmark that might signal a shift in Congress's willingness to get tough on toxins. "The great fear is that if a big, established chemical like this can be driven from the market, what's next?" he says.



Read the whole story at The Washington Post »

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