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Denmark bans 4 phthalates from consumer products

After banning Bisphenol A in children's food containers and two parabens in children cosmetics, Denmark proves once again a frontrunner among EU Member States in the phase out and substitution of endocrine disrupters

24.08.2012 |Elizabeth Ruffinengo




Children's cosmetics tested for a WECF consumer test in 2011

We can’t wait for the European Union”. These are the words of Danish Minister of the Environment Ida Auken, on the recent Danish decision to ban 4 phthalates (DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP) from consumer goods such as shower curtains, table cloths, plastic swimming pools, etc. After banning Bisphenol A in children’s food containers and two parabens in children cosmetics, Denmark proves once again a frontrunner among EU Member States in the phase out and substitution of endocrine disrupters.

Before taking action at national level, Denmark had proposed a restriction of the combination of the 4 phthalates at EU level. This restriction under REACH had been rejected by ECHA (European Chemicals Agency). Without denying the existence of risks of combined exposures to chemicals with similar action, ECHA decision bodies  "had seen no risk in a combined exposure to the 4 phthalates, since they will be subject to REACH authorization regime in coming years". Where Denmark sees a need for swift action, the EU seems so far to prefer a slower approach.

NGOs satisfied with national measures on EDCs
The Danish Consumer Council is pleased with the decision to go ahead at national level. "Phthalates have been suspected to cause endocrine disruption in humans for decades and several of them have already been banned in toys. The Minister is doing the right thing by banning the substances in other consumer products as well", says Claus Jørgensen, Senior Policy Advisor at the Danish Consumer Council.

Denmark’s approach and action on EDCs reflects the call of the scientific community to take action on known EDCs to reduce populations’ exposure. “The hesitation of the European Union to move forward and generalize measures such as the one recently taken by Denmark is surprising, all the more when big companies, such as Johnson & Johnson announce the phase out of certain endocrine disrupters from their products. It is urgent to act now to protect the health of populations tomorrow.”, says Anne Barre, President of WECF France.




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