While news sources, greens, and U.S. lawmakers hype the risks about children’s exposure to the chemicals found in a host of plastic products from school supplies to toys, the government of Australia has released a comprehensive scientific review on one of the alleged culprits: DINP (diisononyl phthalate). DINP is One of nine phthalates used to make soft and flexible plastics used in a variety of valuable products — from blood bags to backpacks (see this CEI study on the topic for more information). Their finding: consumers have nothing to fear. Risks from trace exposure to this chemical are negligible. The report explains:
Given the low acute toxicity, low skin and eye irritation, and skin sensitising potential for DINP, the risk of adverse acute effects for children arising from handling toys is low….
Overall, the risk estimates for systemic toxicity and fertility-related and developmental effects indicate low concern for children at the current reported levels of DINP in toys and child-care articles. …
No additional recommendations to the existing controls in place for the public health risk management for the use of DINP in toys and child-care articles are required based on the findings
of this assessment.
Comprehensive scientific reviews of other phthalates have affirmed their safety as well, such as the European risk assessment of DEHP [di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate].
The U.S. has a temporary ban on phthalates in toys, which the Consumer Product Safety Commission is reconsidering. And Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is advancing the idea of regulating even more consumer products that use these chemicals. If only these policy makers would pay attention to the science rather than the hype, perhaps then consumers would not see our choices regulated away.