Following a decade long study of potential health affects of phthalate (i.e. chemicals often used in plastic products for children) the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of the United States last month banned children’s toys or child care items – like teething rings – that contain concentrations of more than 0.1% of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), dinpentyl phthalate (DPENP), dinhexyl phthalate (DHEXP), or dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP).
These kinds of chemicals are usually used to soften plastic and make it more pliable. Exposure to these chemicals by children has been linked with health problems like hormone disruption and damage to reproductive development, among other serious issues.
Industry trade groups opposition
This decision did not come without opposition from industry trade groups who pushed back on an earlier rule issued by the agency in July 2014. It took a joint lawsuit in Dec. 2016 by several groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Justice Health Alliance, and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners – seeking to compel the agency to finalize its phthalates rule – to eventually get this settled and finalized; thereby consequently resulting in the latest ban.
Lesson for our regulators: protect our children
We only hope that the concerned Nigeria regulatory bodies are monitoring issues like this. We call on them to take appropriate steps to ensure that this study by CPSC and related ones are read and evaluated. This ultimately should lead to decisions that ensure that children’s toys or child care items manufactured or sold in the Nigeria are free of these chemicals.