Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) is questioning the Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Elliot Kaye about the process used in the agency’s decision to permanently ban the use of di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) in children’s toys and products.
In a letter to Chairman Kaye dated Oct. 17, Barton wrote, The Commission had “previously determined that DINP was safe, but changed course and banned the use of the phthalate after secret reviews.”
In 2003, the committee had deemed DINP safe, however this was before sweeping changes were made by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
Rep. Barton asserted in his letter that CPSC didn’t follow the intent of the law (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) or guidelines established by the Office of Management and Budget when the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel conducted a review of DINP without releasing a draft report or allowing public comment.
He also questioned the use of dated scientific data as the basis of the ban and worried about the dangerous precedent it sets. In addition, Rep. Barton pointed out that CHAP’s decision circumvented the law by ignoring DINP’s negligible contribution to a cumulative risk framework.
Barton’s letter asked Chairman Kaye several questions, including:
• “I would like to know the CPSC’s position on its legal authority to regulate a chemical that contributes a very small percentage to a cumulative risk assessment.”He also questioned the use of dated scientific data as the basis of the ban and worried about the dangerous precedent it sets. In addition, Rep. Barton pointed out that CHAP’s decision circumvented the law by ignoring DINP’s negligible contribution to a cumulative risk framework.
• “I am interested in learning why the Panel chose to use Center for Disease Control (CDC) data that was nearly ten years old.
Barton said “recommending a regulatory restriction on a particular phthalate – DINP based solely on its negligible contribution to a cumulative risk framework goes beyond the intent of the statute. In asking for consideration of the cumulative effect, Congress was not mandating a quantitative assessment such as the one the CHAP chose to undertake. The science of cumulative risk assessment is in its infancy and has many uncertainties. It is admirable that the CHAP took on this difficult subject, but it must be recognized that its methodology was merely a screening level assessment using multiple conservative assumptions.”
DINP was listed as a carcinogen under Proposition 65 by CalEPA’s Carcinogen Identification Committee last December. A lawsuit seeking to overturn the listing was filed by the American Chemistry Council in June.