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Is Plastic Dangerous? (page 2)

Is Plastic Dangerous?

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Updated on Mar 5, 2009

Rusch says that even if phthalates are eliminated altogether, the issue of toy safety is not just going to go away. She points to a larger problem affecting our nation: “The chemical industry's power and influence are very strong,” she says. “How many of these fights against individual chemicals are we going to have to have before we say 'wait minute, maybe we should require these things to be tested for safety beforehand'?” Case in point: bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive used in bottles, containers, and some toys. While some studies suggest that BPA may pose a health risk, products containing the chemical, including many baby bottles and “sippy cups,” remain on the shelves. “We really should be putting more pressure on our members of Congress to better protect our kids from unsafe toys,” says Rusch. “It's unacceptable that there are these risks in toys that parents can't even see.”

In fact, new measures for product safety are being introduced to both the Senate and Congress, and may mark a sea change in how products of all kinds are evaluated for safety. Until then, parents can play it safe by avoiding soft, bendable plastic toys, highly processed foods, and heating food in plastic containers. Shelby says that while you can't eliminate contact with phthalates altogether, you can take steps to avoid them. Though the health risks are uncertain, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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