Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

House Backs Tougher Product Safety Law

Bill Bans Lead, Other Risky Chemicals
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 30, 2008 -- The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday that boosts government regulation of consumer products, including toys that were subject to a rash of recalls last year.

The bill increases funding and regulatory clout at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a relatively small government agency responsible for testing product safety and pulling items off the market if they're deemed unsafe.

The agency fell under scrutiny last year and over the winter as dozens of toys -- many of them made in China and sold by some of the nation's biggest manufacturers -- were pulled from store shelves.

The bill, which passed 424-1, doubles the agency's budget. It increases fines and other penalties for companies that don't comply with new rules and forces companies to certify to the government that they're enforcing safety standards in factories and toy design.

"It should be a given that toys are not dangerous," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The bill permanently bans three chemicals in a category known as phthalates, which are used to soften plastics in toys but which studies have linked to reproductive development and endocrine problems. Three other phthalates are temporarily banned pending a safety review by regulators and the National Academy of Sciences.

The bill also bans lead in children's toys, except in trace amounts. Last year, lead was found in toy jewelry made in China and in other products. Effects of lead poisoning include developmental delays and cognitive deficits.

The final version of the bill represented a rare compromise in an election-year Congress driven by partisan rancor.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the package was "a strong bill."

"We don't ban or outlaw products on no science or bad science; there will be reputable science," he said.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was the only House member to oppose the bill.

Toy manufacturers were generally supportive of the bill, which is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Bush.

Bill Locker, counsel for the Toy Industry Association, which represents manufacturers, said the bill is "robust and tough".

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration