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Restrict hazardous plasticisers in everyday articles

News 12/1/2014

The measures taken to reduce exposure to the four plasticisers already listed on the EU’s so called authorisation list will not be enough. Therefore, the Swedish Chemicals Agency is proposing further measures, at both EU and national levels in order to reduce the usage even more. Furthermore, enforcement in all member states must be tightened.

These are some of the proposals the Swedish Chemicals Agency is presenting to the Swedish Government, when the assignment to promote a phase-out in Sweden of suspected endocrine-disrupting phthalates now is completed.

Many phthalates are classified as toxic to reproduction, and today thirteen phthalates are listed on the so called candidate list of particularly hazardous substances in the EU’s chemical legislation (REACH). Four phthalates are also on the authorisation list, implying additional limitations of fields of application.

To minimise the risks, especially for children, the Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes a number of measures to push for a phase-out of the most hazardous phthalates.

At EU-level, the Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes Sweden to

  • push for restrictive authorisation of the four phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP and DIBP on Annex XIV in REACH,
  • push for restrictions in REACH of the four phthalates in the following article groups: accessories including gloves and bags, clothing and shoes, sports equipment, furnishing, electronics, vehicles and construction products for the indoor environment,
  • push for restrictions of the four phthalates in the Electronics and Electronical Equipments Directive – RoHS.
  • continue the work on classification proposals for phthalates that are toxic to reproduction and endocrine-disrupting, in order to include them on the candidate list.

At national level:

  • The Swedish Government should assign relevant authorities to propose limitations of emissions of hazardous phthalates from building materials in the indoor environment, 
  • The Swedish Government should assign the Swedish Competition Authority a similar task for the health care sector, which the Authority has already been assigned regarding the chemical requirements for procurement to pre-schools. 
  • The Swedish Chemicals Agency should push for measures leading to improved compliance, e.g. more effective enforcement and sanctions. 

Plasticisers – Where you find them

Examples of articles where phthalates are used are: vehicles, cables, wiring, flooring, tubing, gaskets, medical devices, toys, packaging material for food, coated textiles/fabrics, garments with printing, sports equipment, artificial leather, shoes, bags and furniture.

The common factor for these articles is that they are, entirely or partly, made of soft PVC. A large proportion of these articles are imported into Sweden.

Read the entire assignment report on phthalates, Report 7/14 
(in Swedish with an English summary).

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