AB 1108: Ban phthalates in children's products (2007)



Victory! Governor Schwarzenegger has signed AB 1108 into law!

Children, especially infants, are the most vulnerable segment of our population. Since children consume proportionally more food, water and air than adults and have immune systems that are not fully developed, they should be the benchmark used for all of our toxic safety standards. However, makers of goods to which babies and children are exposed, including plastic toys and baby products, use chemicals that are known toxins in the manufacture of those products.

Assembly Bill 1108 (Ma) takes an important step to protect babies and children from harmful toxins. It would prohibit any toys and feeding products which are intended for children under three years of age from containing a type of chemical called phthalates. Sensibly, the bill also requires that manufacturers use the least toxic alternative available when replacing phthalates in their products.

Phthalates are chemical substances that make PVC plastic soft and flexible. Many everyday items contain phthalates, including soft plastic toys and other baby products, such as bath books, rubber ducks, and teethers. Since phthalates leach out of plastic over time, these chemicals can easily enter children’s bodies through children’s natural tendency to put objects in their mouth as a way of exploring the world around them.

Phthalates have detrimental impacts on human health and development:

  • phthalates interfere with the functioning of hormones;
  • exposure to phthalates may cause reproductive and genital defects, damage the liver and kidneys, interfere with normal development of a fetus or child, and cause allergies; and
  • phthalates have been linked to cancer.

At present, California has taken only minor steps to protect the public from exposure to these dangerous chemicals. Four phthalates are listed on California’s Proposition 65 list as reproductive toxins, and at least fourteen countries and the European Union have already banned or are phasing out phthalates to protect children’s health. Although several leading manufacturers of toys and baby products in the U.S. have restricted the use of phthalates over the last few years, many products on the market still contain phthalates. Currently, there is no law requiring the phase-out of these chemicals. AB 1108 provides the first major step toward protecting children from toxics in baby products.


Victory! Governor Schwarzenegger has signed AB 1108 into law!

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