Environmental lobby calls for EU limits on chemicals

On 3 May, environmental lobby ChemSec highlighted 22 hormone-disrupting chemicals routinely found in plastics, packaging and cosmetics that it wants regulated by the European Union. ChemSec has accused the EU of delaying action on “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals such as phthalates. “The EU has the ambition to tackle the threat of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, but has so far not properly regulated their use,” said ChemSec Director Per Rosander. “It is time to overcome this deadlock in European regulation and start acting,” he said. Phthalates are mainly used to increase the flexibility and longevity of plastics, and are found in a wide range of household products, from shower curtains and paints to nail polish and sex toys. The most toxic phthalates have been banned in children’s toys in Europe since 1999. The EU recently announced further restrictions on the use of the phthalates DEHP, BBP and DBP within three to five years. Among its list of 22 endocrine disruptors, ChemSec called for restrictions on the use of three more phthalates, known as DCHP, DEP and DHP. The EU regulates potentially risky chemicals through a law known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). ChemSec wants 378 substances included in a list of “substances of very high concern” identified for priority regulation under REACH, whereas an official list currently only covers 47 chemicals. The European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediaries (ECPI) said scientific studies had revealed no safety concerns over the use of phthalates in cosmetics. “The fact that cosmetics contain phthalates is not a problem and poses no risk to either human health or the environment,” it said on its website.

Euractiv, 4 May 2012 ;http://www.euractiv.com/ ;