EU phthalate flap pushes industry to innovate


When in 2012, Denmark announced plans to ban DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP phthalates; the industry was caught by surprise.

It was a move that was, at the time, by many viewed as a political stunt. Ole Grøndahl Hansen, director of the PVC Information Council Denmark, pointed out that the consumption of the phthalates in question, known as 'low phthalates,' were already declining fast and 'were on their way out in the EU.' "So why make this noise? It's annoying," he said.

In 2005, the EU banned three other high-molecular weight plasticizers - DINP, DIDP and DNOP - in toys and other articles that children can potentially put in their mouth. "No unacceptable risk has been characterized for the uses of DINP and DIDP in articles other than toys and childcare articles which can be placed in the mouth," wrote the Commission. However, no action was taken against DEHP, DBP and BBP. By 2012, unwilling to wait any longer, the Danish Environmental Ministry had enough of what it saw as the EU's inadequate regulation of these substances, and decided to take action.
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