The toy industry protects children at play. Safety is our top priority and we are steadfast in our commitment to following the strict safety standards and laws that keep any substances that could put a child at risk out of toy products.

Your April 6 opinion piece, “Labeling Would Help Keep Toxins Away from our Kids”, creates a false and frightening linkage between phthalates and toys. You did not tell your readers that the use of phthalates in toys and child care articles has already been restricted for many years. Specifically within the U.S., a federal law that took effect in early 2009 has banned toy companies from adding to their products any phthalate that could cause the health effects you mention.

The headline of the article also seems to advocate for stricter product labeling requirements in Maine, but the 2008 Kid-Safe Products Act allows for the state to require disclosure, not labeling. Let’s be clear: neither requiring companies to label a product with its ingredients nor disclosing those ingredients to a state agency will make that product safer. Rather, requiring companies to comply with strict, sensible laws that are based on a scientific assessment of risk is a much more effective way of assuring the health and safety of consumers — no matter where they live.

When it comes to toys, Maine families can rest easy knowing that the federal safety standards mandated across every state are among the toughest anywhere in the world. These same families can be confident that the dolls and games and tricycles and teddy bears and every other fun plaything they find on store shelves today are safe.

It’s the toy industry’s job to protect kids at play. We’re proud of what we do, and how well we do it.

Alan KaufmanSenior vice president, technical affairsToy Industry AssociationNew York, N.Y.

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