A temporary ban on phthalates, a class of chemicals once used in children's toys, should be made permanent, Consumer Product Safety Commission advisers said Friday. The Commission’s Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) studied the health effects of phthalates and phthalate alternatives used in children’s toys and childcare articles, and issued a report Friday saying no real changes are needed. Phthalates are used to make plastic soft. The report notes that while phthalates cause wide concern, there are not many studies showing health effects. Most have been done in rats, and they show that if pregnant rats ingest large amounts during gestation, the male pups can have certain genital abnormalities.
Toys are not big source of the chemicals, the committee noted. Food and drinks are. There are many different chemicals in the class called phthalates and the committee said a few are already banned. “The CHAP recommends that the interim ban on the use of diisononyl phthalate (DINP) in children’s toys and child care articles at levels greater than 0.1 percent be made permanent,” it added. Other phthalates need more study, it said.
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First published July 18 2014, 1:49 PM
Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.
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She's a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.
She's reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.
Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She's done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.