New safety norms for toys

Meant to check use of toxic phthalates
New safety norms for toys

TOY makers use phthalates to make plastic toys supple and chewy. But the chemical also happens to be very toxic and its use in the Indian toy industry remains unregulated. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has finally drafted standards for phthalates in toys and childcare products so that their use can be regulated. The standards are likely to be notified by September-end.

BIS released the draft standards on April 21, following directions of the Bombay High Court, which had acted on a public interest petition filed by Mumbai non-profit Consumer Welfare Association in 2007. Studies show that phthalates damage male reproductive system, impair lung functioning and affect pregnancy (see ‘Pthalates are harmful’). The petition sought stringent regulations for phthalates in toys. BIS was supposed to issue the standards by June 30, but took extension till September. The court had ordered that the standards should be made mandatory within two months of notification.

Phthalates are harmful
  • DEHP: Banned in toys in many countries. Exposure to it causes asthma and allergy in children. Studies show it interferes with development of reproductive organs; exposure during pregnancy is linked to pre-term birth
  • DBP: Linked to poor semen quality in men, premature breast development in women and asthma and allergic symptoms in children
  • BBP: Linked to embryo toxicity, asthma and liver problems
  • DINP: Linked to pre-natal toxicity, slightly increased rates of skeletal retardation, soft tissue and skeletal malformation, increased liver and kidney weight
  • DIDP: Repeated exposure damages the liver
  • DNOP: Causes low, acute eye and skin irritation. Toxic to the liver, thyroid glands, kidney and reproductive system. Found to promote tumour formation in the liver
Are these sufficient?
Toy makers sceptical

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