Close check on child-product chemicals

A team of rubber ducks

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: A sweeping new U.S. law goes into effect today to protect children from lead and plastic-softening chemicals called phthalates. Congress passed it after last year's recalls of Chinese-made toys. The new rules set tight standards on products from dolls and pacifiers to jewelry and child furniture. Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: OK, I just went out and bought this rubber duckie -- plastic, actually -- made in China. It's soft, squeaky . . . and as of today, it can't have more than one-tenth of 1 percent phthalates, or 600 parts per million of lead. That would be against the law and could lead to big fines.

But under pressure from business groups, the Consumer Product Safety Commission delayed the costly requirement that products be tested and certified for one more year.

Scott Wolfson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission says in time, it will become easier to find out what's in your kid's rubber duckie or Talking Elmo.

Scott Wolfson: Labeling to help parents will be coming. But parents starting today should have increased confidence that a new law is in place to protect their children.

Wolfson points out that many big manufacturers and store chains were already meeting the new standards months ago.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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