San Francisco Chronicle (pg. B6), November 18, 2006
FIRMS SUE OVER BAN ON USE OF CHEMICALS;
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 bottles.
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 injunction.