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NPR's business news starts with a ban on common chemicals in toys.

They're called phthalates, and Congress could soon forbid companies from using several kinds of these chemicals. For decades phthalates have been used as plastic softeners in all kinds of children's toys. But consumer groups say they may harm children's health. Companies that make the chemical, including ExxonMobil, say the science is weak.

Still, lawmakers haggling over a new product safety bill have agreed to ban three types of phthalates and temporarily ban three others pending further study. Last year, millions of toys were pulled off the shelf because of safety problems. The proposed legislation would overhaul the country's product safety laws.

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