First it was breast implants, then thimerosal, and now it is phthalates. Each have been attacked in turn by the junk-science / media / tort law complex. Nobel Prize-winning chemist William Knowles wrote this week:
Lawmakers -- representing the concern of parents influenced by certain
environmentalists -- are calling for an outright ban of phthalates from
children's toys because of the misguided belief that by exposing
children to toys made with these chemicals we are putting their health
Phthalates have a long history of attacks by environmental groups
dating back more than 30 years. Even then babies were of prime
consideration. Few chemicals have undergone such extensive testing and
survived as being safe. In fact, diisononyl phthalate, the most
commonly used phthalate in children's toys, has been subjected to more
than 200 tests....
Today, with no new scientific evidence, we are again challenging
phthalates as dangerous to babies and threatening to ban them. These
are products that have survived the toughest test of all, the test of
time. There is no evidence that babies or anyone else has ever been
harmed by them.
Eliminating phthalates from consumer products would be a true
challenge. Even more worrisome, however, is the notion that any
replacement would ever be able to pass the extreme scrutiny diisononyl
phthalate and other phthalates have.
There is nothing wrong with examining the products our children
come into contact with to be sure they pose no health risks. However,
in this case, it would be a great mistake to ban what has been proven
to be a benign product without some further scientific evidence.