Although most coverage of the CPSIA debacle (this site’s included) has focused on the lead rules, the phthalates ban (phthalates are an ingredient often used to make plastic soft and bendable) is also extraordinarily burdensome, for a number of reasons: 1) as readers may recall, a successful lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others forced the last-minute retroactive banning of already-existing playthings and child care items, costing business billions in inventory and other losses; 2) vast numbers of vintage dolls, board gamesand other existing playthings are noncompliant, which means they cannot legally be resold even at garage sales, let alone thrift or consignment shops, and are marked for landfills instead; 3) obligatory lab testing to prove the non-presence of phthalates in newly made items is even more expensive than testing to prove the non-presence of lead.
Earlier coverage: Feb. 6(NRDC and allies win court case on retroactivity); Feb. 7 (various points, including Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s vow that his office will “take whatever steps are necessary[emphasis added] to ensure this phthalate ban is enforced”)
Frankly, I could care less about infant toys – what really gets me hetted up is that the ban caused the disappearance from the market of Nalgene water bottles, the best backpacking invention since the Kelty pack. Until Nalgene, hikers were forced to choose between crappy polyethylene bottles that imparted a stench of plastic to every mouthful or a heavy metal container. We’re back to that now, for no good reason. And in case you’re not a hiker, you might want to thank Blumenthal for his efforts for another reason: IV bags, that replaced glass and were stronger, cheaper and lighter, contain phthalates – so they’re gone too. But again, if it saves the life of one polar bear,….