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Technical Report 
Hidden hazards: health impacts of toxins in polymer clays 
Miller, S 
U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 218 D St. SE Washington DC 20003 USA, [URL:] 
Polymer clays are a form of modeling clay that have become popular in recent years among children, adolescents and adult craftspeople. They are inexpensive, come in a variety of colors, are soft at room temperature, can be molded by hand into small or large items, and can be baked in a conventional oven at low heat, resulting in a permanent hard object. Fimo and Sculpey are the most common brand names of polymer clays in the U.S., but other different product lines exist. Unfortunately, these clays contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with phthalate (pronounced tha-late) plasticizers. While the phthalate plasticizers make the clay soft and workable, they are also associated with potential health risks. Phthalates as a class of chemicals have been implicated in birth defects, reproductive problems, nerve system damage and other negative health effects. VPIRG's research indicates that children and adults using polymer clays may be exposed to phthalates at harmful levels. Even when clays are prepared following proper package directions, children and adults can breathe or ingest high levels of phthalates. In addition to phthalate exposure the research indicates that when polymer clay is overheated enough or accidentally burned, the PVC will break down and release highly toxic hydrochloric acid gas. VPIRG recommends that consumers avoid using polymer clays and calls on the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall or suspend sale of polymer clays until they are shown to be safe for use by children and pregnant women. 
modeling clay; Toxicology Abstracts; Risk Abstracts; Health & Safety Science Abstracts; Adolescence; Plasticizers; Phthalic acid; Congenital defects; Consumer products; Toxicity; Consumers; Pregnancy; Hydrochloric acid; Temperature effects; Children; polyvinyl chloride; H 9000:Consumer and Recreation Safety; X 24350:Industrial Chemicals; R2 23060:Medical and environmental health