San Francisco Chronicle (pg. B6)  [Printer-friendly version]
November 18, 2006


Manufacturers team with toymakers to challenge S.F. law

By Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Chemical manufacturers, toymakers and retailers have sued again to
halt enforcement of a pending San Francisco ban on baby products
containing two types of toxic chemicals.

The law, which takes effect Dec. 1, prohibits the manufacture,
distribution and sale of baby products with certain levels of a
phthalates and any amount of bisphenol A.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court by the companies that
make phthalates. The suit was joined by the California Chamber of
Commerce, the Toy Industry Association and Ambassador Toys, a San
Francisco retail store.

Another lawsuit over the San Francisco ban was filed with a local
court last month by U.S. manufacturers of bisphenol A, the California
Retailers Association, the California Grocers Association, the
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and a San Francisco
retailer, Citikids Baby News.

The American Chemistry Council, the national association representing
major U.S. chemical producers, is a plaintiff in both lawsuits.

Both lawsuits argue that the city does not have the authority to ban
such products. The suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court says
such responsibility lies with the state, while the lawsuit filed
Thursday says the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is
responsible for restricting the chemicals.

Phthalates are found in products such as shower curtains, car
upholstery, raincoats and cosmetics as well as soft parts of some
toys. Bisphenol A is a building block of polycarbonate plastic, the
hard plastic often used in baby bottles and some kinds of Nalgene

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the ban because some
animal studies indicate the chemicals could cause cancer or
reproductive harm. A similar ban took effect earlier this year in the
European Union.

Lawyers in City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office have agreed to delay
enforcement of the ban until a Jan. 8 hearing at which the bisphenol A
manufacturers and other plaintiffs will ask for a preliminary