An environmental group is calling for the U.S. government to require companies to label phthalates and some flame retardants in children's products, and phase out the most dangerous of the chemicals.
Washington-based U.S. Public Interest Research Group, in an Oct. 12 report, said it found polybrominated diphenyl ethers and phthalates in plastic teethers, bath books and sleep accessories.
In calling for the restrictions, the group noted that levels of flame retardants in the breast milk of American women are approaching levels shown to impair learning in mice. U.S. PIRG said that while the federal government already has restricted two flame retardants, imported products still can contain the chemicals.
``We need to eliminate toxic chemicals from baby products to give our children the right start,'' said U.S. PIRG environmental health advocate Meghan Purvis. ``The U.S. government must act to assist parents.''
But the Consumer Product Safety Commission disputed U.S. PIRG's conclusions, saying that based on its preliminary analysis of the U.S. PIRG report, the chemicals do not appear to be present in amounts that raise concerns.
``The levels of phthalates and PBDE that U.S. PIRG identified in this study are miniscule amounts and we don't believe that children's health is at risk,'' said CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis.
She said parents should focus on hazards that ``we know for a fact are harming children'' like lead in old paint and costume jewelry designed for kids, which the agency has recalled.