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Priority Chemicals List: What else is in children’s products?

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Toxic bubble bath? Contaminated infant formula? Jaded jewelry? These are just a few of the  hiding spots of the Priority Chemicals, released today by the Minnesota Department of Health, that can pose a threat to human health and are present in children’s products.

The listing is a welcome step in addressing the presence of toxic chemicals in consumer goods and is a result of the Toxic Free Kids Act, passed in 2009 with the support of the Minnesota-based Healthy Legacy coalition. The act required the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to collaborate in producing the list, in addition to reporting on options for chemicals policy in the state of Minnesota.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals, which can interfere with the development of the brain” said Amanda Wold of LDA Minnesota. “According to a 2008 study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 8.2% of children, ages 3-17, have some form of a learning disability and children with underdeveloped brains may be diagnosed with a learning disability in which environmental effects may have played a role.”

Chemicals that are included on this list are known or Formaldehyde
suspected developmental or reproductive toxins, endocrine disrupters, or a persistent, bioaccumulative toxins and are found in the human body, the home environment or in nature.

Nice, huh?

The new list brings forward chemicals that are part of the toxic cocktail we are all exposed to every day.

The Priority Chemical List includes:

  1. Bisphenol A, linked to health effects during development and on the endocrine system. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic and in food and infant formula can linings.
  2. Three different phthalates (BBP, DBP and DEHP), linked to developmental, reproductive  and endocrine system health effects. DEHP is also linked to cancer. Phthalates are often found in children’s products made with vinyl and in personal care products.
  3. Cadmium, linked to developmental and reproductive health effects, as well as cancer. Present in children’s products like jewelry.
  4. Formaldehyde, linked to cancer and effects on the respiratory system. Found in some children’s bath products as a by-product.


These chemicals have no place in our consumer products. Minnesota has been a leader in passing policies to protect the public from such exposures and is one of 30 states (plus the District of Columbia) to pursue protective policies at the state level in 2011.


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