Lawmakers on Monday moved toward banning phthalates, a type of chemical used as plastic softeners and found in all kinds of children's toys. Consumer groups say the chemical can harm children's reproductive development and cause other health problems.
Companies that make the chemical say the science is weak. Still, Congress is considering banning three types of phthalates, and temporarily banning three others pending further study.
The move is part of a broader bill that still needs a vote; the bill would overhaul the nation's product safety laws in the wake of last year's wave of toy recalls.