If phthalates push your buttons, you'll cheer last week's Congressional vote passing legislation that will eliminate the hormone-disrupting chemicals from children's toys. The chemical industry, including Exxon Mobile, a major manufacturer of phthalates, lobbied heavily against the bill and are urging President Bush to veto it (we'll keep you posted).

You were also wise to discourage the kids from playing video games all summer. Video game consoles in Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 contain high levels of phthalates, according to Greenpeace tests. Phthalates have been shown to migrate out of plastics and be inhaled. For the full Greenpeace report, click here . Unfortunately, video game consoles aren't classified as toys, so they won't be covered by this law. And, the law doesn't take effect until January 2009, after the holiday toy-buying rush.As for lead in toys, don't even get us started. Last year alone, there were 45 million toys recalled due to high levels of the brain-damaging heavy metal. Yet until this bill, lead in toys wasn't even illegal, although it has been banned in U.S. housepaint and gasoline for thirty years.

Want to help? Rick Hind of Greenpeace suggests we call the White House today at 202-456-1414 and urge President Bush to sign the Consumer Product Safety Commission Bill.

For a quick list of lead- and phthalate-free toys, see our recent Daily Green Bit.

And remind the kids to detach from the electronics and play outdoors.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Banning lead and phthalates in toys
Legislation has passed to ensure safer playthings.