June 19, 2009

Canada wants phthalates out of toys

Canada's federal health agency is seeking to ban a chemical used to soften plastic toys that a U.S. trade group claims is harmless.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq made the announcement in Ottawa Friday, saying new regulations were being drafted to ban six types of phthalates, the Canwest News Service reported.

The chemical is commonly found in soft vinyl toys children often put in their mouths and has been linked to blocking the production of the male hormone, testosterone, the Globe and Mail reported.

Soon after the announcement, the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Va., issued a statement saying there was no scientific basis in the ban.

Because phthalates neither migrate out of products easily, nor build up in the body, research has not demonstrated adverse effects to humans from phthalates at typical exposure levels, the trade group said.

The European Union banned phthalates 10 years ago, and the United States also banned its use in February, the Globe said.