Attention shoppers you may want to take a closer look at the fine print on those Christmas toys this year. Apparently, the landmark product safey legislation Congress passed in August left the toy makers a legal loop hole to explot and guess what they are. Products produced before the law goes into effect can remain on the store shelves indefinitely.

Congress in August passed a landmark consumer safety law that raises standards for toys and virtually bans several hormone-like chemicals called phthalates in products for children under 12.

Lawmakers wanted toys with the controversial chemicals to be off the market when the law takes effect Feb. 10, according to a statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., co-author of the ban.

Last week, however, a staff attorney at the agency responsible for carrying out the new regulations — the Consumer Product Safety Commission — released a legal opinion stating that stores may continue to sell toys with phthalates, as long as those items were made before Feb. 10. That could allow toys with phthalates to remain on the shelves for years, with no way for parents to know which toys contain the chemicals, Feinstein says.

Feinstein and others are concerned about phthalates — which are found in countless consumer products, from shower curtains to raincoats — because studies show they affect the hormone system. An October study, for example, found that baby boys born to mothers with high phthalate levels were more likely than others to have undescended testicles and small penises. Scientists say people can be exposed to phthalates through dust, and that babies can be exposed by chewing on toys such as rubber bathtub ducks.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a toy you shouldn’t touch.