After this week, you might have heard about the chemical ** phthalates** in the national news. Only months after the chemical BPA was stealing the spotlight, phthalates have become a concern for parents. This time it’s the States trying to put regulations around this toxic plastisizer that is put into plastic to make it soft and more flexible. The US Congress have agreed to restrict three of six suspected phthalates being put into items that have the possibility of being ‘mouthed’ by children under the age of 12. The ban would take effect in 6 months. Why only three of the six that are suspect? After doing some reading, the idea is the US is simply copying the ban of the three phthalates that Europe regulated against in 2005!! The European Union classified these three phthalates as reproductive toxicants – DEHP, DBP, and BBP. Why isn’t North America quicker to copy Europe with their bans of toxic chemicals? At every turn, in every issue that concerns parents….BPA, Phthalates, artificial dye or coloring in food, they are years ahead of us. Wow – time to pay a little closer attention to what Europeans are up to because they are doing a much better job of protecting their children.
When I first started reading about phthalates, I found it shocking the number of products this chemical exists that would effect babies and children. One hole in this ban passed by the US government would be for pregnant mothers who absorb phthalates through cosmetics and air born fragrance. Expectant moms should try to imagine before they spray or use products, that their baby is already out in the world. Would you spray that room deodorizer, use that cosmetic on your skin, or ingest those cleaning supplies? All of these types of fragrances and phthalates directly affect a developing fetus. What are some examples of this? In the article Protect Your Family From Phthalates In Your Home, you learn no fragrance is really the key! Use non-toxic products for skin, hair, nail care (Planet Organic sells non-toxic nail polish). Avoid air born fragrance – air deodorizers, dryer sheets, cleaning products.
How do you green your children’s toys when unlike the recall of BPA bottles, there is no list or cheat-sheet to follow for toys containing phthalates? Here are some tips from the folks at TreeHugger ‘How To Green Your Kid’s Toys’. I got rid of any plastic toys that my girls might ‘mouth’ especially their tubby toys. You can now buy phthalate free tubby toys and can replace most bath care, sunscreen, bug repellent lines by buying non-toxic products. Check out the Mommy Footprint category ‘Safer Products For Kids’ for more tips and information.
Parents-to-be and new parents stressed about phthalates? Arm yourself with information, talk with other new parents, and you can go from concerned about these issues to empowered! Believe it or not, it’s a GREAT time to become a new parent because these issues have become so wide-spread and talked about. Because the phthalate ban will not be in effect until the New Year, toys containing this chemical will be on the shelves for Christmas, even though big stores like Toys-R-Us, Walmart, and Target have come out in support of the ban. I will be posting lots of phthalate free and safe toy recommendations in the upcoming months.