Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Praises Decision Blocking Manufacturers From Allowing Sale Of Toxic Toys

February 6, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today praised a federal court that that compels toy manufacturers to remove toys from store shelves containing harmful chemicals known as phthalates.

The decision vindicates a letter that Blumenthal wrote to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), followed by a legal brief in court, last year.

The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 bans the manufacture, sale, distribution, or import of children's toys and childcare articles containing certain phthalates at concentrations of more than 0.1 percent as of Feb. 10. Phthalates are used to soften plastics, but are known to cause serious reproductive abnormalities, particularly in infants.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wrongfully interpreted this prohibition to only include toys manufactured after Feb. 10, and not the countless toys already manufactured and ready for sale.

Blumenthal filed a brief in support of the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging the CPSC's interpretation, which threatens to enable the indefinite sale of countless toxic toys. The lawsuit was filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen, Inc.

"The federal court today delivered a reality check to the toy industry: a ban on toxic phthalate-laden toys means they cannot be sold," Blumenthal said. "The Consumer Product Safety Commission defied its own name, failing to make public safety its paramount concern. The Commission's misinterpretation of the phthalate ban protected profits over public health.

"As we vigorously argued in our legal brief, the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act is clear -- toys cannot be manufactured or sold after implementation of the law.

"Today's decision is a public health victory, particularly for our children, putting manufacturers on notice about their urgent responsibilities to consumers. My office will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that this phthalate ban is enforced."