Implementing a rule that bans any of the five phthalates in materials used to make children’s products would require third-party testing which according to the Toy Association, "adds cost for the consumer with no safety benefit."
In response to a lawsuit filed by three advocacy organizations in December 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that it will finalize a ruling on the ban of the following phthalates, as proposed in 2014, for children’s toys: di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP) and dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP).
A number of phthalates have been restricted in the U.S. since the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was enacted in 2008.
The Toy Association’s SVP of technical affairs, Alan Kaufman, said that the ban’s effects on toy manufacturing will be limited because the five phthalates are not usually used in children’s toys. He added that the chemical and physical properties of DCHP, DnHP and DnPP are not generally suitable for the plastic materials used in making toys.
DnPP is on California’s Proposition 65’s list of chemicals identified to cause reproductive toxicity and/or cancer.
DINP and DIBP are currently allowed in non-mouthable toys (those with dimensions equal to or at least 5cm), but their use is minimal because of readily available non-phthalate substitutes. Mr. Kaufman added that DIBP is also in EU’s REACH list.
Kaufman said that if the regulation is approved it would cause the U.S. to be out of sync with other industrialized nations, explaining that it would cause American manufacturers to use different testing procedures.
Kaufman added that some of the phthalates proposed that may be subject to the proposed restrictions would not be used in toys, he observed. However, toy manufacturers will still be required to pay for testing of chemicals and substances they know are not present in their products because CPSIA requires third-party testing to prove the absence of the banned chemicals.
Mr. Kaufman said that’s the reason he considers the tests as an added cost without a safety benefit to the consumers.
Meanwhile, a positive development for the Toy Association is that a CPSC rule exempting seven plastics from mandatory independent testing as proof of compliance with phthalates ban to use on products for children will take effect on September 29. The testing rule may be amended to apply to additional restricted substances.
Mr. Kauffman also expressed the Toy Association’s willingness to find ways, with the CPSC, that would lessen the testing problem. They are looking forward to using materials that are not likely to contain phthalates and would not require testing.
The American Chemistry Council considers the plan to ban DINP “arbitrary and capricious.”