PLASTICS AND HEALTH
Denmark steps ahead of EU on phase-out of phthalates / Suspected endocrine disruptors
Denmark has drafted plans for a ban on four phthalate compounds that it considers to be human endocrine disruptors. Environment minister Ida Auken said the ban would be introduced in autumn 2012 for the plasticisers DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP. The low molecular weight phthalates have been linked to reduced sperm count in boys as well as early onset of puberty in girls and are suspected of causing liver cancer in mice.

With the move, Denmark is pressing ahead of the European Union, which will not even consider further action on phthalates before spring 2013. “The Danish Environment Ministry has enough documentation, so we feel now is the time for action,” Auken told the media. “This is an area in the EU, which is unregulated, so therefore I think it is correct to do this,” she added.

This is not the first time Denmark has led Europe in environmental action. In April 2010 it became the first country to take action on bisphenol A (BPA), temporarily banning the chemical in baby products before the EU made its first move in November of that year – see Plasteurope.com of 09.04.2010.

Phthalates are regulated by the EU’s REACH legislation, but the European Commission (EC) and Denmark disagree over how big a threat the plasticisers represent, and the EC has criticised the Scandinavian country’s go-it-alone stance. Auken in turn has accused the Commission’s perceived “lack of willingness” to look into endocrine disruptors, and even suggested that Brussels authorities "are bowing to pressure from the chemical industry".

Some phthalates are included in a list of “substances of very high concern” for which the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA, Helsinki / Finland; www.echa.europa.eu) has launched a 45-day public consultation – see Plasteurope.com of 24.08.2012. The European PVC industry, for its part, contends that Denmark’s action is unnecessary. The EU already plans to phase out the “most dangerous” phthalates, said Ole Grondahl Hansen, director of PVC Information Council Denmark (Copenhagen; www.pvc.dk). To carry through on her plans for a ban of the four compounds, Auken would have to prove that phthalates are more dangerous for Danes than for other EU citizens, he remarked.
04.09.2012 Plasteurope.com [223261-0]
Published on 04.09.2012
Kunststoffe und Gesundheit: Dänemark will Phthalate verbietenGerman version of this article...

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