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Fiona Ma Pushes To Ban Toxic Chemical Found In Toys

Lawmakers voted to ban another potentially dangerous chemical from toys sold in California. San Francisco lawmaker Fiona Ma pushed the bill through Tuesday afternoon, but it's unclear if the governor will sign it.

Despite the recent headlines of major recalls of lead-tainted toys, a proposed state ban of a different chemical used in toys was a hard sell on the State Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon.

Phthalates are used to soften plastics and have been linked to reproductive damage in lab animals.

"There are countries in Europe, 14 other countries that have banned this chemical. We're simply asking for an 'aye' vote," said Senator Dean Flores (D) Shafter.

Most Republican Senators and some moderate Democrats voted 'no' because the last study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded the most common phthalate, DINP, is safe and that few children were at risk.

"The Feds have a lot more resources to put into this thing, than we do. And if they studied it and said it's not a problem right now, I think we got to go along with that," said Senator Dick Ackerman (R) Irvine.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma wrote the bill and desperately worked the floor to save it. But even though she finally got the last two votes she needed, the San Francisco Democrat isn't sure Governor Schwarzenegger will sign it because she wouldn't make changes.

"We've been working with the administration on some amendments. However, talks broke down," said Assemblyman Fiona Ma from San Francisco.

No matter the fate of the phthalates ban, Assemblywoman Ma will introduce a ban on lead-tainted toys next year.

Parents like Kathi Miller just want some help in keeping their kids safe.

"You think this is safe. This is safe. It's got to be. And then you find out it's not. It's scary," said concerned parent Kathi Miller.

Until more scientific work is done, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asked the industry to remove phthalates from soft rattles and teethers as a precaution. So, at this point, it's voluntary.