The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to finalize its long-pending proposed regulation to prohibit five additional phthalates in children’s toys.
In a letter to CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye, the NGO called on the agency to issue a final rule before the year’s end.
The commission issued a proposed rule in late 2014. The proposal was to ban, or make permanent in
terim bans on, the use in children’s toys and childcare articles, at levels greater than 0.1%, the following five phthalates:
diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP);
di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP);
di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP);
dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP); diisononyl phthalate (DINP).
It was issued at the recommendation of the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), following its final 2014 report on the health effects of certain phthalates, and phthalate alternatives, in children’s toys and childcare articles.
But the NRDC’s letter asserts that the CPSC was required by law to publish a final rule within 180 days of the publication of the CHAP report on January 14, 2015.
NRDC argues that the delay is “causing ongoing harm, as children continue to be exposed to phalates that the commission has now proposed to ban because of the health risks.”
Considering the ongoing delay, stakeholder advocacy on the proposed rulemaking is continuing. In a letter dated August 31, 2016, following a meeting, ExxonMobil vice president Elissa Sterry, raised three issues with the CPSC.
● a discrepancy between the raw data and a report the CHAP used, in determining one of the phthalates, DINP, to be detrimental to health;
● new data showing that humans are less sensitive to phthalate-induced in-utero anti-androgenic effects than previously thought; and
● the CHAP decided based on its own independent review of data. That data had not been released publicly in the U.S., causing concern for stakeholders.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has said it is based “largely on old data.” The organization argues that the CPSC should have considered the most recently available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bio-monitoring data from 2009-10 and 2011-12, prior to issuing the report.
More recently, congressional leaders have weighed in. Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, wrote in a September letter that the CHAP should rely on widely established scientific standards rather than outlier exposure data, to drive conclusions.
Passage of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008 prompted the formation of the CHAP. It also led to permanent bans of DEHP, BBP and DBP from children’s products, and interim bans on DINP, DIDP and DNOP.
The use of phthalates has been a top issue of regulators around the world. Health Canada has restrictions involving the same six phthalates in children’s products.
Several phthalates, including DINP, are subject to children’s product reporting rules in states such as Washington, Oregon and Vermont.