The federal government has rejected efforts to ban PVC from toys for children under 5 years old, arguing that any exposure children have to diisononyl phthalate from PVC does not rise to a level that would harm them.
The Bethesda-based Consumer Product Safety Commission decided late Feb. 21 to reject a petition from the National Environmental Trust and several other groups that had asked for a ban.
The 3-0 decision by the agency's commissioners is not unexpected - CPSC staff concluded in September that there is no risk to children from exposure and recommended against a ban.
In 1998, under some public pressure, many toy companies and retailers voluntarily removed DINP from some toys.
A Toys-R-Us spokeswoman told the Associated Press the retailer would continue its ban, while other toy industry officials said it was possible companies could begin using the chemical again.
The Phthalates Esters Panel, a unit of the Arlington, Va.-based American Chemistry Council, welcomed the CPSC decision. ``Five years of intense study by a panel of independent experts and CPSC staff, including some new, detailed research on the mouthing habits of young children, has finally put the unfounded vinyl toy scare story to rest,'' the group said in a news release.
NET, however, said DINP is known to cause liver and kidney damage, and said CPSC should not base its decision on the premise that children don't suck on the toys long enough to be harmed.
``It is absolutely crazy for this administration to take that chance,'' said Andy Igrejas, director of NET's environmental health campaign.