According to an article in the Washington Post, the Senate approved a new bill that would remove toxic chemicals from toys and put new enforcement measures in place to ensure hazardous products don’t make it to the marketplace.  The bill bans lead from kid’s products and toys, and also bans dangerous phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP) from use in infant and toddler products.  Phthalates are a type of chemical used in soft plastics which are used to make products including teethers and pacifiers.

The bill will require toymakers to send their products to indepedent labs for testing before the products hit the marketplace.  The bill also restricts the use of earth magnets in toys, a practice that has caused serious injuries to children over the past several years, including a death. 

The give the law teeth, the bill will double funding for the CPSC, the government agency charged with policing products and pulling dangerous products from the market.  In the wake of the toy recalls of the past several years, the CPSC has increasingly come under scrutiny as ineffective and slow to act.  The law authorizes state attorney generals to help the CPSC enforce the federal product safety laws, and they will be able to take manufacturers who bring dangerous products into the marketplace to court, to take dangerous products out of the stream of commerce.

The bill provides for steeper penalties for manufacturers who violate the new safety laws.  The new fines go as high as $15 million, where the old fines topped out at $1.8 million.  It is hoped the new measures will ease the minds of parents who have in recent years been hammered by product recall after product recall.