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California Bans Toxic Chemical Used to Make Teething Rings, Etc.

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California is the first state in the country to ban the use of a dangerous chemical found in kids toys. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill that bans the use of phthalates from children's products. Phthalates are chemicals added to plastic to make it soft and flexible. The chemicals are used in plastic toys and other baby products, such as teething rings, bath books, and rubber ducks.

Gretchen Lee is with the Breast Cancer Fund , which co-sponsored the legislation.

Lee : It's going to be great that now California children have the same protection that kids in the European Union and 14 other countries have. And so we really thank him for his leadership in signing this bill in recognizing that chemicals, toxic chemicals have no place in kid's toys.

She says phthalates cause reproductive and genital defects. Exposure to the chemical has also been linked to premature birth, early onset of puberty, liver and thyroid damage and testicular cancer. Because phthalates are not chemically bonded to the plastic, the toxic chemicals are easily released when children suck on objects.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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