Children’s Toys Victory: CPSC Bans Phthalates In Toys

U.S. PIRG Education Fund


Kara Cook & Dev Gowda

U.S. PIRG Education Fund Toxics Program

303-573- 5995, ext. 329


Children’s toys will be safer after a vote today by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban five types of phthalate chemicals from children’s toys and other children’s products. Phthalates are commonly used as a softener for plastic children’s toys and child care articles, such as pacifiers and bottles.

The CPSC reviewed scientific evidence showing that phthalates have been associated with several health risks: in the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.

The agency finalized its rule on phthalates today by a vote of 3-2. The final rule permanently bans five types of phthalates from use in children’s products like toys. 

“Children’s toys should be safe. Parents shouldn’t have to worry that the toys they buy on the shelves contain something that will make their family sick,​” said Dev Gowda, Toxics Advocate for U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Teething rings shouldn’t have a chemical that will give your kid asthma or diabetes.”

“The CPSC did the right thing today,” said Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Director for U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Their job is to protect consumers. For years, American consumers had no idea they were buying products that could harm their kids. It was time for the CPSC to step in and ban this stuff.”

The decision by the CPSC is a long-awaited victory for public health. In late 2014, the CPSC proposed to ban five types of phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles due to these health risks. But the agency did not finalize that rule until today.

The CPSC’s action today comes in response to a lawsuit filed by NRDC, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and Coming Clean’s Environmental Justice Health Alliance and Campaign for Healthier Solutions. This week, U.S. PIRG and over a dozen state PIRGs joined a coalition letter to the CPSC calling on them to ban the phthalates.

For the past 32 years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has taken a close look at the safety of toys sold in stores. Our annual reports have led to more than 150 regulatory actions to get safer toys for children. Our upcoming toy safety report will be released in November of 2017.

# # #

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.