Letter Opposing a Phthalate Ban Amendment to S. 2663, the "CPSC Reform Act"
March 4, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly opposes any legislation that would establish a federal ban on children's products that contain certain chemicals known as phthalates. Information indicates a phthalate ban amendment may be offered to S. 2663, the "CPSC Reform Act." The ban would extend to any toy or product that is intended for the use of children under age three and contains one of six types of phthalates, including the most commonly used phthalate, Diisononyl phthalate (DINP). A federal ban on phthalates is not scientifically justified and would force manufacturers to use more expensive, less tested alternatives.
Phthalates have been safely used in a variety of consumer products for more than fifty years. Numerous scientific studies, including done by the Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have concluded that the current use of DINP in children's toys is safe. A federal ban on the use of DINP and other phthalates in children's products would therefore unnecessarily burden manufacturers and consumers, because manufacturers would be forced to use more expensive alternatives that may subject them to additional safety and legal liability concerns, and consumers would be exposed to products containing alternatives that have not been approved for use in children's products by any federal agency.
Advocates for phthalate bans point to scientifically unsound bans enacted in both the State of California and European Union (EU). The California ban was based on concerns associated with unsafe levels of lead in toys (and not phthalates); while the EU unjustifiably banned phthalates before their own risk assessment concluded that phthalates are "unlikely to pose a risk for consumers (adults, infants and newborns)."
The Chamber urges you to oppose phthalate ban legislation particularly if it is offered as an amendment to S. 2663.
R. Bruce Josten