Canada's Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Friday proposed banning six commonly-used chemicals in soft vinyl toys and child-care articles, as well as new strict limits for lead in products.
The regulation would prevent the use of a family of chemicals (known as phthalates DEHP, DINP, DBP, BBP, DNOP and DIDP) in squeeze or inflatable toys, dolls, animal figures, school supplies and vinyl bibs.
These chemicals are commonly used to make vinyl plastic, otherwise known as polyvinyl chloride or PVC.
Studies suggest that they "are hazardous to reproduction and development and may cause health effects such as liver and kidney failure in young children when products are sucked or chewed for extended periods," said a statement.
"These regulations are yet another measure this government is taking to help ensure that products intended for children are safe," said Aglukkaq.
"This is part of our overall efforts to ensure that families have confidence in the quality and safety of what they buy," she said.
The health minister also proposed a limit of 90 milligrams of lead per kilogram of product in toys for children under three years of age; mouthpieces used in sports equipment (such as snorkels) or in musical instruments; pacifiers; teethers; baby bottle nipples; plastic beverage straws; and drinking cup spouts.
The proposed lead limit is "among the strictest limitations in the world," said the minister.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: Use of baby personal care products associated with higher levels of phthalates