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The Breast Cancer Fund Applauds California Ban on Toxic Toys

AB 1108 will keep dangerous chemicals out of children's toys

For Immediate Release: October 14, 2007
Contact: Marisa Walker, Breast Cancer Fund (415) 346-8223 x17

SAN FRANCISCO—With a signature from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California has become the first state in the nation to protect children from toxic toys by banning dangerous chemicals called phthalates. Passed in September by the state Legislature, AB 1108 requires that all child care products and children’s toys sold in California are free of chemical plasticizers called phthalates (pronounced “THA-lates"). Scientists worldwide have linked phthalates to lowered sperm counts, early onset of puberty, testicular cancer and liver problems.

The bill was signed today by Governor Schwarzenegger following a steady drumbeat of support for the legislation by parents and health-focused organizations, including bill co-sponsor the Breast Cancer Fund. Environment California also co-sponsored the bill. It was authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco).

“These dangerous chemicals have no place in our children’s toys,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund. “This legislation protects our children and gives parents the peace of mind that they are not inadvertently giving their children toys that may have dangerous health consequences.”

Found in rubber duckies, teething rings, bath books and other soft plastic toys, phthalates have been shown to leech out of toys and into children’s bodies when they suck or chew on them. Soft rubber toys can be made without the toxicant, but prior to this legislative ban there was no surefire way for parents to determine which toys were toxic and which are phthalate-free.

The European Union and other countries have already banned or phased out the use of phthalates in these products. Lobbyists for the U.S. chemical industry had previously prevented the same protections from being enacted in the United States.

“This is a tremendous victory for California parents,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund. “We are extremely pleased that we were able to work with so many dedicated parents, scientists and doctors to pass this important bill to protect the health of California’s children.”