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children and chemical exposure August 19, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

Recalls of consumer products may protect consumers from the risks associated with those particular products, but they don’t help consumers evaluate the risks of exposure to danger in future. Trade Associations such as the Toy Industry Association promote the idea that toys are safe:

All toys sold in America must conform to U.S. safety standards – the most extensive, effective, and widely emulated standards in the world – regardless of where they are manufactured. The recent recalls are due to company-specific problems with their testing and inspection processes. Companies make toys, not countries, and companies are responsible for adhering to rigorous safety standards and inspecting their products prior to delivery. Providing safe toys is the priority of the toy industry, and we are committed to continuous improvement in design testing and inspections to ensure the highest quality.

Dangerous chemicals in toys are, of course a small part of the risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals incurred by children around the world, although they are perhaps easier to regulate than some of the other risks. The EU adopted a directive on phthalates in toys in 2005, and similar legislation is pending in California (note that there’s some controversy about the dangers of phthalates). On the wider range of risks to which children, particularly poor children, are exposed, see, for example, this Report by the WHO.


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