Ebb and flow for Danish phthalate controls

Minister asks for substitution in toys for children up to six, delays ban in baby bathing equipment

Danish retailers and toy importers have been given one year to suggest how phthalate plasticisers could be removed from toys for children aged three-to-six. Announced today by environment minister Hans Christian Schmidt, the initiative is thought to be the first in Europe aimed at items for children over three.

Mr Schmidt's move keeps Denmark at the forefront of European moves to restrict the use of phthalates, which can leach into children's saliva if toys are sucked. An emergency EU-wide ban in force since 1999 just covers PVC toys designed to be mouthed by under-threes. Some governments have unilaterally imposed tougher controls, but only extending to toys for under-threes but not designed to be mouthed.

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