What policies will keep kids safe from hazards?
A. We need strong programs to test imported toys. I also think that we need to have solid programs to test the toxicity of household chemicals as they're brought to market. Too many chemicals go into children's products with insufficient or no testing, and we only realize that they're dangerous once they've been out there for years. A recent example is phthalates, chemicals that are often found in plastic items including infant products and children's toys. Phthalates, which have been in some plastics since the '70s, may cause congenital abnormalities in reproductive organs. I'm advising parents in my practice not to bring these chemicals into their homes, when possible. If you look at the bottom of plastic bottles, you can tell whether they're relatively safe or potentially dangerous. On the safer plastics, you'll see the numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5, and the less-safe plastics are printed with the numbers 3, 6, or 7.