TOY INDUSTRY
ECHA tests find restricted phthalates in toys / Most products REACH-compliant
REACH, the EU’s chemicals legislation, is regarded worldwide as one of the toughest and most effective. Producers, importers and retailers are obliged to provide detailed proof that the substances they place on the market meet the legislation’s strict criteria, and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA, Helsinki / Finland; www.echa.europa.eu), the authority that administers REACH, keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings. Sometimes keeping an eye open is not enough, however, so from time to time the agency carries out checks with the help of the EU member states.

The aim of the ECHA enforcement projects is to raise awareness of restrictions in REACH Annex XVII. This includes identifying non-compliance, following up with enforcement action as well as achieving a greater degree of compliance, and thus health and environmental protection, the chemicals agency said.

In the latest inspection, REF-4 – the fourth REACH-EN-FORCE project of the ECHA forum dating from 2016, but only just published – 29 countries from the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) participated. Inspectors in 27 European countries checked 1,009 mixtures, 4,599 articles and 17 substances. Of the 5,625 products checked, 82% complied with REACH, while only 18% were non-compliant. The agency said the number is “high, considering that the REACH restrictions have been assigned to uses of chemicals with the highest risks to health or the environment.” Overall, most of the breaches were found with products of unidentified origin (39% of such products did not comply), followed by products imported from China (17%).

Despite the overall high compliance rate, inspectors for the Enforcement Forum turned up what they said were “hundreds of consumer products with illegal amounts of chemicals restricted under REACH.” Most frequently found breaches were phthalates in toys, with nearly 20% of those inspected containing the restricted bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) at levels above those permitted.

In detail, ECHA’s figures show that in entry 51 (DEHP, DBP, BBP) of REACH Annex XVII, 19.7% of the toys checked were non-compliant, and in entry 52 (DINP, DIDP, DNOP), 10.4% were non-compliant. Beyond toys, restricted phthalates were found in less than 10% of childcare products inspected. Altogether, the teams carried out 1,202 phthalate checks. The chemicals agency called non-compliance rates for phthalates “very high,” considering that the EU’s restrictions on phthalates were designed to protect children from harmful chemicals and have been in place “for many years now.”

The pertinent REACH restrictions prohibit placing toys and childcare articles on the market where phthalates are in concentrations greater than 0.1% by weight of the plasticised material, and children can put the articles into the mouth. The earliest EU-wide ban on phthalates in toys and childcare products took effect in 2005, pulling together restrictions in the various member states – see Plasteurope.com of 28.07.2005. Many of the rules had been opposed by the toys industry, additives manufacturers and parts of the plastics industry. In recent years, some Scandinavian countries have sought to further tighten the rules on some plasticisers, but have not prevailed at the EU level.

In view of the general findings of the enforcement probe, ECHA stressed that it is companies’ responsibility to obtain information on the chemical composition of their products from their suppliers. This, it said, “may also include proactively testing the products and making agreements between suppliers so that the chemical composition complies with the chemicals legislation.” The authorities will continue enforcing REACH restrictions by analysing further products on the market, it said.
19.02.2018 Plasteurope.com [239066-0]
Published on 19.02.2018
Phthalate: Zu hoher Wert bei jedem fünften SpielzeugartikelGerman version of this article...

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