The new ban on lead based chemicals-how much is too much?

The new ban on lead based chemicals-how much is too much?


Washington, D.C. (– Over the course of the last few years, there has been heavy dialogs on the chemicals and harmful substances that are used to make children’s toys. Most of the debate centered on the impact of lead based materials and paints that are used to color certain plastic toys and on the walls of homes built before 1978. The danger becomes imminent when the child is exposed to large amounts of lead, affecting the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells. If there are extremely high levels of lead in a child’s blood, mental retardations, coma, seizure, and possibly death can occur.

The key is the quantity of lead the child takes in usually by mouth or nose. DINP, (diisononyl phthalate) is the plasticizer that is used to make the toys for its flexibility and durability and believed to be the cause for the health issues. Yet, DINP has been studied widely for possible health effects and has a very good safety profile. In 2006, a risk assessment was completed by the EU’s European Chemicals Bureau, and found that the phthalates containing DINP are unlikely to pose a risk for consumers. The American Chemistry Council reported that U.S. companies manufacture $1.4 billion worth of phthalates annually, and less than 5 percent of that is used in children’s products.

However, many people still feel it is a toxic substance and pressed for it to be banned from the toy-making process. In 1999, the European Union banned six phthalates from children’s products and many other countries followed suit. Now, in 2008, the ban has been passed by the European Union and is set to take affect in just six months. Huge retailers such as Toys R US and Wal-Mart complied and will therefore no longer have products containing the phthalates.

One argument against the ban is that children will unintentionally be placed at greater risks, for the simple fact that without the use of DINP, overseas manufacturers will be forced to use substitute chemicals that could be more hazardous than the phthalates. Only time will give results.

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