EU bans toxic phthalates from use in toys and child-care goods

The general assembly of the European Parliament passed a permanent directive Tuesday banning the use of six dangerous substances in toys and child-care articles. The new directive was approved by a large majority (487 for, 90 against, and 10 abstentions), following a recommendation by Greek Euro Deputy Antonis Trakatellis. The directive prohibits six phthalates used to make plastic more flexible because they are all carcinogenic. This marks the end of five years of official and unofficial negotiations by Trakatellis with the European Council and Commission. There was heavy pressure from the toy industry not to extend the ban on use of the substances to products intended for children aged over three years of age (they have been banned since 1999 for use in goods intended for children under three). As of this fall, the compounds DEHP, DBP and BBP, which are classified as carcinogenic and toxic, are banned for use in concentrations above 0.1 percent in child-care goods, while DINP, DIDP and DNOP, for which there is evidence of harmful affects on the health, are banned in concentrations of more than 0.1 percent in «toys and child-care articles that can be placed in the mouth by children.» These substances are currently found in concentrations of 20-30 percent in toys. Meanwhile, the European Parliament has called on the Commission to re-examine other applications of plastic products, in particular in medical equipment, and in products treated with fragrances that may entice children to put objects in their mouth. Expressing concern about the effect of the substances on children, Trakatellis said: «The effect of these compounds on children may become apparent after many years and may even harm their reproductive system. It is far too great a risk to allow these substances to be used without any restrictions.» He added that industry must seek alternative solutions to phthalates.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.