While this article only briefly mentions lead-laden toys, it does discuss another toxin, Phthalate, that is commonly used in many household plastics. Di(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate, or DEHP, in particular has been shown to impede sexual development in males. For infants and toddlers, the threat is significant in the fact that young children are not able to detoxify chemicals as effectively as adults and their activities present more opportunity for “intimate contact” (can you say teethers, rubber duckies?…for you folks without kids the chemical is also found in sex toys…wait this would affect parents, too, I guess…not that there’s anything wrong with that). As such, DEHP has recently been banned in the EU. Since the ban, BASF, the largest producer of the chemical has since shut its door of its DEHP plant in Europe and has developed a safer alternative.
What is ironic is that the ban was mainly a result of studies done in the US, where two BASF plants (one in Texas and one in Pittsburg) manufacture it. China does not ship DEHP-laden toys to Europe, but it does to the US…because it’s legal here. I’m guessing that our law makers are more worried that ban DEHP would bring about job losses at these huge plants (believe me when I tell you they are huge!), especially in these cities that really do not need more unemployment. I wonder if the folks working there know of the toxicities and risks of their product; if they did would they continue to work there? Along with the EU, Mexico and Argentina are just a few other countries who was banned this chemical in toys. Screw the US lawmakers who are mamby pambying around; obviously they will do nothing. Why doesn’t the BASF phase out the DEHP and transition to the safer alternative that they have already developed?