Credits: DIANA MARTIN/ THE CHATHAM DAILY NEWS/ QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - A cancer and infertility-causing fire retardant found in imported toys and other products will be partially banned from use in Canada, likely by mid-2013.
The chemical, TCEP, is used in a host of products that contain polyurethane foam, including mattresses, flexible books and child car seats.
So, Health Canada has proposed banning the substance from any products meant for children aged three and younger.
"It is well understood that frequent mouthing and sucking activity among infants and young children under three years of age is a common and necessary part of their behaviour and development," Health Canada said of the proposed regulations. "It is also known that TCEP can migrate out of foam toys and foam children's products in response to sucking or chewing."
Federal officials said Canadian companies don't use TCEP, also known as tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate, in children's products, but tests in 2009 and 2010 still found it in seven out of 40 products examined - all imported from China.
The Canadian Toy Association (CTA) says it has worked with Health Canada on the issue and supports the ban.
"None of our members have TCEP actually in their products," said CTA chair Kerry George.
She adds that member companies test their products for safety "at a variety of stages along the chain."