Press Releases

Statement of Senator Feinstein on Court Ruling Upholding Phthalate Ban

- Beginning Tuesday, stores may not sell children’s toys or childcare products containing certain phthalates -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement following a court ruling which upheld a ban on phthalates -- chemicals added to common plastic products to make them soft and pliable. Exposure to phthalates can cause severe long-term health effects.

“This ruling reflects the true intent of Congress – that no toy or children’s product containing certain phthalates be sold after Feb. 10, 2009, no matter when it was manufactured. Beginning next week, parents will have peace of mind, knowing that the toys they buy for their children are safe.”

The ban on phthalates, sponsored by Senator Feinstein, was included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The legislation was signed into law by President Bush on August 14. The ban takes effect on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009.

In November, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s general counsel issued a legal opinion stating the ban should only apply to products made after the Feb. 10 enactment date, not to any toys or childcare items manufactured before that date.

Two advocacy groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen, sued to revoke CPSC’s November opinion and compel the federal agency to enforce the phthalate ban, regardless of when the toys and childcare products were made.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe ruled in favor of the advocacy groups.