Greenpeace’s “Action Center” provides concerned citizens with an opportunity to lobby congress to ban phthalates in children’s toys. The reason is that the environmental advocacy organization wants “to make sure children grow up in a safe environment and one of the easiest (and most obvious) places to start is with safe toys.”
Of course, one of the things most normal parents tell their kids to do is not to tell lies, because not telling the truth is generally considered to be wrong. Greenpeace, on the other hand, has no problems telling people to sign on to a form letter that includes the following text and then mail it to their congressional representative:
“Unfortunately phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems including birth defects, early puberty and testicular cancer. They have no place in our children’s toys, especially since safe alternatives exist.”
The reality, as STATS has been pointing out for the past three years, is that no study has shown that phthalates in toys have been linked to birth defects, early puberty or testicular cancer in children or humans. This is a wild distortion of the scientific research, and this is one of the reasons William Knowles, a recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recently declared that environmental groups were misleading the public on the risk. Moreover, even if phthalates proved to be as dangerous as Greenpeace claim, children are not exposed to phthalates in toys in any meaningful way. Rather, as the National Institutes of Health has pointed out, children’s exposure to phthalates is overwhelmingly from food and dust. Banning the chemical from toys will not alter this exposure.