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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.


--Maggie Fox

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