Toronto – Environmental Defence applauded the federal government today for proposing to regulate the sale of children’s toys containing phthalates and lead. These regulations will prevent the use of six phthalates in soft vinyl children’s toys and products, such as teethers and rattles. The regulations also effectively ban lead in these products.
 
“Thanks to this federal government action, Canadian children will now be better protected from exposure to these hazardous substances,” said Aaron Freeman, Policy Director for Environmental Defence.
 
Phthalates are a group of human-made chemicals that disrupt hormones and can cause birth defects of male reproductive organs. They are found in cosmetics, personal care products, fragrances, vinyl, and other plastic
products. Lead is known for damaging the central nervous system and other organs, disrupting hormones, and possibly causing cancer. It has been found in paint, children’s jewellery, and other toys.
 
A voluntary ban on two types of phthalates – DEHP and DINP – has been in place since 1998. DEHP was designated as “toxic” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 1999.
 
Environmental Defence’s Toxic Nation program has published numerous studies that have found concerning levels of harmful chemicals, including phthalates and lead, in the bodies of Canadians. For several years, the organization has called for a ban on these chemicals in consumer products.
 
By regulating the six phthalates, Canada will catch up with the European Union, where these substances have been illegal in certain kids’ toys since 1999, and the United States, where they have been illegal in kids’  toys since 2008. The lead limit proposed in the Canadian regulations is among the strictest in the world.
 
“This is great news for parents,” said Freeman. “We look forward to the government proceeding quickly to implement the regulations.”
 
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.-30-

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)