Phthalate industry ditches legal action against the EU in favour of research

The industry group representing European plasticisers has admitted that it will not be resorting to court action over the EU's emergency ban on four phthalates used to soften pvc toys.

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The emergency ban was agreed in December and in reaction the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) had been preparing for legal action. The ECPI continues to deny that there is any “scientific evidence pointing to a risk” from phthalates that migrate from soft pvc toys to children’s mouths.
Many EU member states and environmental organisations believe that phthalates pose a range of health risks to children and more stringent bans than the EU’s exist in some countries.
The ECPI says it is abandoning plans to take the EU to court because it has received signals from EC President Romano Prodi’s office that a revision or a reversal to the ban could be forthcoming. The Enterprise Directorate General is working with the ECPI to improve tests on phthalate migration methods. Attempts by researchers in the Netherlands and the UK to measure the levels of phthalate that are ingested by children when they chew on soft pvc toys were rejected by the EU last year. The tests were deemed inaccurate.
Nevertheless, work on developing a European Test Method for phthalate migration has begun again, according to the ECPI. Reports suggest that there is a varying level of support for the research within the EC, with the Enterprise DG supporting the work while officials involved in consumer protection are less keen.

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