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Kids' Health Update: New Toy Safety Law

After a year of warnings about lead and dangerous plastics in toys and baby items -- especially those imported from China -- President Bush has signed a new law to make kids' products safer.

  • By the beginning of 2009, children's products sold in the U.S. can't contain more than a minuscule amount of lead or three types of phthalates (chemicals in certain plastics that may have an adverse effect on developing endocrine and reproductive systems). Three other phthalates will be banned temporarily so that more studies can be done.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission will have more authority and a bigger budget to regulate kids' products.
  • Manufacturers must submit all products for independent testing and label them (rather than the packaging) with tracking numbers so it's easier to identify recalled items. "Requiring pre-market testing is an important change," says Joel Forman, MD, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on Environmental Health, which advocated for the bill.

Originally published in the October 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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