The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is calling for “vigorous enforcement” of consumer product safety laws and additional bans on phthalates in toys.
The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) made the demand following the release of its 30th annual Trouble in Toyland report.
Through testing at Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-accredited labs, the report found that “toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves”. These include products with high levels of phthalates and chromium.
PIRG is calling on the CPSC to enforce standards established in the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) more strictly. This includes those for lead content and three banned phthalates DEHP, DBP, and BBP.
The NGO also calls for the CPSC to make permanent the interim bans on three additional phthalates: DINP, DIDP and DnOP.
The organization said it also wants it to adopt similar bans for the four chemicals highlighted by the Chronic Health Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives (CHAP) report.
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) dismissed the report, noting that “year after year these lists have repeatedly shown to be full of false claims and needlessly frighten parents and caregivers.”
“What parents can rely on is knowing that all toys sold in the US are highly regulated 365 days a year by the federal government and must meet more than 100 safety standard requirements”, said Steve Pasierb, the Toy Industry Association’s CEO and president, in a statement.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is also cautioning consumers about “overblown claims” made about chemicals in consumer products. Phthalates are specifically chosen as plasticizers because they resist migration out of products, ACC claims.
The ACC also says that consumers should consider dose and exposure when evaluating the chemicals used in products.
But Mike Litt, consumer advocate for US PIRG, says that “the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is an archaic law that has failed to keep up with the growing use of chemicals in consumer products and consequently failed to protect the public.”
Litt says that additional testing performed by non-profit groups will be required to determine if companies are “essentially gaming the system” by switching out one chemical or metal for another.