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Defending Elmo's Tub-Time Rhyme Bath Book
The California's legislature is considering a ban on the manufacture and sale of toys and child care products containing phthalates, a category of plastic softening compounds, or bisphenol-A, a chemical used to harden plastics.

The proposed toy ban is supported by some environmental watchdogs including the Environment California Research & Policy Center. An attorney for the NGO claimed that "the products are linked to a number of adverse health defects, reproductive and genital defects and behavioral problems."

However, Elmo's bath book and other toys have a surprising defender a PhD ecologist who helped found Greenpeace. Patrick Moore, along with the American Chemistry Council and the Toy Industry Association, is opposing the proposed legislation. According to Dr. Moore, "California is very chemophobic and they're basically whipping up this scare campaign against phthalates, even though all the regulatory agencies say they are safe."

A representative of an industry-supported research organization "attacked the methodologies" of scientists supporting the California legislation. He claimed that "research indicating toxic dangers from plastic softening and hardening compounds has been based primarily on tests on rats and other rodents using much higher concentrations of chemicals than is found in most consumer products." The official with the Weinberg Group also stated that the health effects observed in tests constitute "a rat syndrome but not a human syndrome."

Winston would like to suggest an alternative to the highly politicized battle in California applying the Data Quality Act and OMB's Data Quality guidelines, Peer Review Bulletin and proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin to the scientific data in question. Then let the plastic toys fall where they may.
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