Spain maintains pressure on phthalates, PVC

Experts' report on PVC circulated for comment ahead of expected government decision

The European Commission's decision not to prohibit PVC toys containing certain phthalate softeners has not affected the determination of the Spanish government to press for a ban. While the decision by Brussels to await the report of a Dutch study on phthalate migration from toys to children's saliva has, for the moment, made the prospect of a ban recede, Spain has already banned the sale of specific toys containing large quantities of the phthalates DINP and DEHP. Meanwhile the environment ministry is consulting on an official report assessing the risks of PVC. The findings of Spain's expert commission will be discussed in September before the government adopts its final position. The commission was unable to agree about the seriousness of the risk of phthalates leaching out of PVC toys and received conflicting evidence from the plastics industry and environmental NGOs. Some representatives also claimed that there was a risk that additives in PVC food packaging could migrate into food. According to the socialists' parliamentary spokesperson on environmental affairs, a draft of the recently passed packaging act included a commitment to cut national use of PVC by 10%, but this had disappeared by the time the measure was discussed by the parliament.

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