Environment California, May 25, 2006


Would be first city in the nation to do so.

[Rachel's introduction: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed an ordinance that would ban two particularly nasty chemicals from children's toys and feeding products. The second reading is June 6 and then it's up to Mayor Gavin Newsome to sign or veto the ordinance.]

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- The Stop Toxic Toys bill, which would ban two toxic chemicals -- phthalates and bisphenol-A -- from children's toys and feeding products, passed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 23rd, in an 11-0 vote.

Phthalates (pronounced thay-lates) often used in soft PVC plastic children's toys, have been linked to reproductive birth defects, early onset of puberty, asthma, and reduced testosterone in boys. If signed into law, San Francisco would become the first city in the country to ban these chemicals. The European Union and at least twelve countries have passed bans or restrictions on the use of phthalates in products for small children.

Bisphenol-A, a known hormone disruptor, is a common ingredient in hard plastic baby bottles and has been shown to leach out of the plastic, especially in older bottles. Even at very low doses it has been linked to obesity, early onset of puberty, behavioral problems, reduced sperm production, increased cancer cell growth, and impaired immune function.

"Many parents would be shocked to learn that the plastic baby bottle they're giving their child could damage their health. When you look at the science behind these chemicals, there is no question that they ought to be banned from baby products," said Supervisor Fiona Ma, the author of the San Francisco bill.

"We cannot allow toxic chemicals to be used in products for young children, especially those specifically designed to be put into their mouths," said Rachel Gibson, Staff Attorney for {Environment California}. Environment California was the sponsor of California legislation -- AB 319 (Chan) -- that would have imposed a statewide restriction on the use of phthalates and bisphenol-A in children's toys and feeding products. "The California legislature failed to take appropriate action this year when it had the opportunity to do so. We applaud the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for taking this significant step to protect our most vulnerable population."

Supervisors Ma, Maxwell, Alioto-Pier, Ammiano, and McGoldrick co- authored the San Francisco Stop Toxic Toys bill. The final reading of the bill is June 6, after which it goes to Mayor Gavin Newsom for his signature or veto.


Rachel L. Gibson Environmental Health Advocate & Staff Attorney Environment California 369 Broadway, Suite 200 San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 622-0086 x304 (415) 622-0016 (fax) rgibson@environmentcalifornia.org www.environmentcalifornia.org