Ole Ladefoged of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration told Aktuelt newspaper on Tuesday that the scientific evidence had moved in favour of DINP, the main phthalate used to soften PVC toys. "New research absolves DINP of having a damaging effect on reproduction," he said. "In other studies one can see that the substance has some effect on the liver, but its significance is a little unclear and there is no apparent cause for such grave concern."
"Given that background, there is no basis for banning the substance if we can manage to develop an analytical method to ensure that toys do not release it in quantities exceeding permissible limits," he continued. Dr Ladefoged confirmed his comments to ENDS Daily today, but added that reproductive toxicity concerns over three other phthalates - DEHP, BBP and DBP - meant they should be banned.
Danish government officials hit back at Dr Ladefoged's comments, stressing, as the European Commission did last year, that whether to ban phthalates was a question of risk management rather than risk assessment. Neither technology nor financial resources were up to "investigating every toy," Lisbet Seedorff of the Danish environmental protection agency told Aktuelt. "We have to give children the benefit of the doubt."
* In a related development, recent spot-checks in Norwegian shops found that 15 of 22 plastic children's toys and baby products tested contained phthalates in contravention of a national ban, the national pollution control authority (SFT) said on Tuesday. Similar revelations emerged last year in Austria (ENDS Daily 9 April 1999).
"We are now in touch with the shops where these products are bought in order to demand that the relevant toys be removed," the SFT's Joakim Lystad said in a statement. "We are also asking importers to fulfil their obligation to know the goods they are importing."
Please enter your details
Not a subscriber?
Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.