EU Commission to propose phthalate controls

Commissioners give go ahead for directive, Bonino holds out for emergency action

EU commissioners have agreed to prepare a directive on the use of phthalate plasticisers in PVC articles, following advice from an EU scientific committee. Expected to be drawn up by the Commission's consumer protection directorate (DGXXIV), the directive will be proposed as an internal market measure, possibly under the EU's 1992 general product safety directive. The intended scope of the directive and its precise objectives are still unclear. At today's meeting of commissioners in Brussels, consumer protection commissioner Emma Bonino failed to gain her colleagues' support for a parallel emergency proposal to require withdrawal of certain soft PVC baby toys containing either of two phthalates - DINP and DEHP - which EU scientists have said give cause for concern (ENDS Daily 5 May). According to Ms Bonino's spokesperson only four or five commissioners were clearly in favour of the idea, while two or three were definitely opposed, under stood to include industry commissioner Martin Bangemann. Many were undecided. He said one argument raised against emergency legislation was the possibility of legal action by affected industry groups. Ms Bonino indicated that she was willing to run the risk and that she would present a proposal to her colleagues in the near future. This would force commissioners to vote on the issue.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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