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[greenyes] US Toy Industry Reaction to EC Phthalates Ban


Hi, all. My husband does some consulting for the Toy Industry
Association and came across this article in an industry publication. The
European Commission has banned six phthalates from toys and the US Toy
Industry Association is not going to "roll over and take this lying
down," an obstinate and short-sighted approach that squanders their
opportunity to be the heroes who step out in front to produce toys that
are healthy and safe for children. The toy industry is a very old
industry entrenched in its ways.
Linda Smith
Community Outreach Manager
Eco-Cycle
303.444.6634


Chemical wonders
By Muriel Cozier, Colleen Bohen, Tom Sosnowski
Playthings -- 8/1/2005

Banning phthalates affects children's biz globally
The European Commission last month voted in favor of a permanent ban on
the use of six phthalates in toys and childcare articles. Three
phthalates-DEHP, DBP and BBP-are totally banned where their
concentration exceeds 0.1 percent by mass of plasticized material. Three
other phthalates-DINP, DNOP and DIDP-are banned for the same
concentrations in toys and childcare articles that children could put in
their mouths, whether or not they are intended for this use. The ban
applies irrespective of the age categories.

The European Parliament is also calling on the commission to look at
other types of material containing these phthalates, especially in the
area of healthcare. Expressing its disappointment, the European
plasticizers industry said that is was concerned by the decision to ban
the phthalates, saying that such stringent measures were unnecessary and
ignored scientific risk assessments. Director of the European Council
for Plasticers and Intermediates (ECPI), David Cadogan said "Banning a
substance (DINP), which has been scientifically risk-assessed as safe,
thereby forcing manufacturers to use alternatives about which far less
is known, does nothing to protect the health of children."

ECPI added that only one of the six phthalates, DINP, is generally used
in toys, and that industry had spent more than $157 million researching
the health and environmental effects of phthalates.
The vote has been welcomed by Greenpeace, which campaigned for a total
ban on the use of phthalates in toys.
"It is difficult to understand how the European Parliament could take
this action. We hope that European-member governments do not ratify the
measure," Tom Conley, TIA president, tells Playthings. "This action
flies in the face of sound scientific evidence provided by researchers
both in Europe and in the USA that these products are safe for use in
children's products," he says. "In fact, both the European Chemicals
Bureau (ECB), an arm of the European Commission, and the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission, separately reviewing research, concluded that
DINP is safe for use in its current applications in toys and childcare
items," he says.
"We aren't going to roll over and take this lying down," he continues.
"While we don't hold out a lot of hope, we hope some of the world's
scientists weigh-in with their findings and appeal to the European
Commission to take a good look at them."
According to the TIA's Web site, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission ruled in 2003 to deny a 1998 petition by environmental groups
to ban PVC using DINP in toys intended for children under five years of
age-a decision supported by the TIA.
Malcolm Denniss, Hasbro senior vice president of corporate quality
assurance, notes that "there is something in Europe called the
'precautionary principle,' where if there is reasonable doubt about the
safety of a product, is intended to require more research and data be
gathered on the product. Obviously that has turned out to mean if there
is any doubt whatsoever, you can't use it.
"To the best of my knowledge there is no reliable data supporting claims
that Greenpeace makes regarding safety, particularly that of DINP."
The following is a timeline tracing the assault on the use of
phthalates:
September 1997-A Greenpeace study claims that phthalates were identified
in a number of PVC toys, and often comprised 10 to 40 percent of the
toy's weight. A number of phthalates were identified, but DINP was found
predominantly. The study raised concerns that DINP could leach out of
toys that were chewed by children. Greenpeace claimed that when DINP was
purchased for laboratory use, it was labeled with a number of hazards,
including "possible risk of irreversible effects."
February 1998-The European Union decides to appoint a scientific
committee to investigate the use of phthalate plasticers in PVC toys.
The European toy industry welcomes the move, saying that "five
generations of children throughout the world have played with and sucked
toys made from pliable vinyl and there is no evidence that they have
been adversely affected by it."
November 1999-The European Commission decides to ban phthalate
plasticers in children's toys for children under the age of three,
citing a "serious and immediate health risk." The decision is slammed by
the ECPI.
December 1999-The ban on the use of six phthalates is finally endorsed
by the emergencies committee of the European Commission. The ban was
originally set for three months, but was continually endorsed on a
rolling basis.
January 2001-ExxonMobil and the ECPI complete a five-year study, which,
they claimed, showed that DINP and DIDP posed no environmental concern.
March 2001-The European Commission extends its temporary rolling ban on
phthalates for the fifth time. The Council of ministers is divided as to
whether to impose a total ban or wait until an accurate method of
testing for the leaching of phthalates in saliva is developed.
2002-The rolling ban is extended.
2004-The ECPI expresses concern that the Commission will ban the use of
phthalates in all toys and childcare articles for all ages.
June 2005-A study linking human exposure to phthalates and adverse
changes in the genitals of baby boys was criticized by industry as scare
mongering.
July 2005-European Parliament votes to ban use of six phthalates in
children's toys.
_____


Author Information

Muriel Cozier is the environmental editor for European Chemical News, a
publication of Reed Elsevier, parent of Reed Business Information,
publisher of Playthings.





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