Product defects of any kind are undesirable. It becomes worse when the target consumers are children. Residents of Marin County should be aware of the federal government's 2008 ban imposed on the use of toxic phthalates chemicals in toys. The toxic chemical is again in the news, but this time in relation to many school products, like kids' lunch boxes and backpacks. Parents must be careful and proactive when buying food storage and other school products, as kids are the most vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemical ingestion.
A recent study conducted by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer tested 20 popular back-to-school products launched recently. They found that 75 percent of the products contained high levels of phthalates. The "Disney Princess Lunchbox" has phthalate levels that are 29 times over the permissible limit. Other products containing the chemical in measureable amounts are "The Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox," "The Access Bag N Pack Lunch Bag" and "The Amazing Spiderman Backpack."
Phthalates are present in a large number of products, such as food packaging products, detergents, shower curtains, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Before the imposition of the ban, the chemical was used to plasticize pacifiers and toys. The chemical is ingested by children through prolonged exposure of the product in the child's mouth.
Phthalate ingestion may cause serious health problems like birth defects, infertility, early puberty, increased diabetes risks in women, asthma, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and obesity.
CHEJ has published a guide to help parents and teachers make informed decisions regarding chemical-free school supplies. Further, the enactment of the Safe Chemicals Act will be crucial in addressing the issue, laying down stricter standards for toxic chemicals in daily-use products. Until then, one must be vigilant and proactive when shopping.
A claim for damages can be filed against the manufacturer of a defective product. Damages may include the cost of the defective product and any property damage, injury or fatality resulting from defective product use.
Source: LA Weekly, "Study: Toxic chemicals found in kids' lunchboxes," Emily Dwass, Aug. 27, 2012.
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