The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have reached an agreement in principle for the federal agency to issue a rule banning five chemicals, known as phthalates, that may cause reproductive harm from their exposure in children’s products. Those five phthalates are: diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP), dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP); and diisononyl phthalate (DINP). While the CPSC reached a tentative agreement with the NRDC on the timetable for issuing a rule, the contents of the final rule will be made by a vote of the CPSC Commission.
Phthalates are a class of chemicals used to soften plastics and are commonly found in children’s toys. Three phthalates, di-(2-ethylhexly) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), were banned from use in toys and other children’s products in concentrations above 0.1 percent in 2009 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and three more were banned on an interim basis based on the same concentration limit the same day. The 2009 interim banned substances include diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP).
The CPSC published a proposed rule in December 2014 and was supposed to issue a final order within 180 days to continue an interim ban on the five phthalates, DIBP, DnPP, DnHP, DCHP, and DINP, within children’s toys, however, the 180-day period stretched to 950 days as of last week.
The NRDC, along with the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and the Breast Cancer Fund, filed a complaint in December of 2016 seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to force the CPSC to regulate the five phthalates in children’s products.
A consent decree is expected to be finalized within the month.
The case is Natural Resources Defense Council et al. v. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, case number 1:16-cv-09401, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.