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Pediatricians: Chemicals Hurt Children, Want Regulation

April 29, 2011
Plain English Version

Studies show consumer products are exposing children to toxic chemicals. A Doctors group is campaigning to change how the U.S. regulates hazardous substances. The American Pediatric Society condemned a 1976 law that allows the release of products that may harm children.

Studies show that children are absorbing harmful substances, sometimes by sucking on rubber toys, drinking from plastic bottles or playing on treated carpets.

Because their bodies are still developing, they face greater risks from exposure to toxic chemicals.

The Society says companies should do testing before selling chemicals. The tests should consider how they might affect children and pregnant women.

When experts identify a risk, consumers do not know which products are made with the dangerous chemicals. Manufacturers do not have to disclose their ingredients. Government officials say rules often prevent them from sharing more information with the public.

In recent years, groups have been raising questions about some hormone-disrupting chemicals. Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have told suppliers they will not carry products containing the substances.

Congressional Democrats support legislation to make it easier for the EPA to take chemicals off the market and make sure substitutes are safe, Advocates expect no action this year.

The Los Angeles Times



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