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Jun 9, 2006 | 19:43 GMT

2 mins read

San Francisco First in U.S. to Ban Two Chemicals Found in Plastic Items

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on June 6 approved the Child Safety Product Ordinance, which will essentially prevent the manufacturing or selling and distributing of any product intended for children aged 3 and younger that contains the plastic additives bisphenol A and phthalates. The ordinance is to take effect Dec. 1, and will make San Francisco the first city in the United States to ban the use of these chemicals in consumer products such as baby bottles, pacifiers and children's toys. City Supervisor Fiona Ma, who introduced the ordinance and is a candidate for the state assembly, says the resolution is important to protect public health and that it is consistent with the city's three-year-old ordinance to make environmental decisions based on the precautionary principle. Ma modeled this particular resolution after the failed California state bill AB319. With the ordinance, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is on record as believing that bisphenol A and phthalates are harmful substances; however, the ordinance lacks strong enforcement mechanisms, such as having a penalty system in place. Due to the lack of enforcement mechanisms, the city's Department of the Environment seeks to educate retail stores about the ordinance and suggest alternative chemicals for products as a means to create exposure for the new resolution. Groups such as Environment California could test products to ensure that retailers are indeed not selling products containing these chemicals. These tests will likely place pressure on the retailers to phase out the chemicals across their entire product lines even though the ordinance does not necessarily force them to. It is possible that other cities in California will adopt similar measures to essentially create a state phaseout of products containing these chemicals in absence of state legislation.

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