Wednesday, February 23, 2011

US Chemical Makers to Seek Authorization for Continued European Use of Phthalates Under REACH Regulation

As noted previously the European Commission has announced that "six substances of very high concern will be banned within the next three to five years unless an authorisation has been granted to individual companies for their use." Three of these substances (DBP, BBP, and DEHP) fall into a general category called phthalates and now a major US trade association has indicated that phthalate manufacturers they represent will file applications for authorization to continued use in "important medical applications."  According to Steve Risotto, Phthalate Esters Panel, quoted in the American Chemical Council (ACC) statement:
"There is a large body of scientific information and a number of government safety assessments in the U.S. and abroad that give the manufacturers of these three phthalates confidence that their products are being used safely. In fact, phthalates are one of the most extensively studied groups of chemical compounds in the world." 
US manufacturers "will work with European regulatory authorities" (primarily the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, in Finland) to "submit all the necessary data and seek approval for the continued use of these substances."  Without authorization, use of all six of the substances of very high concern (SVHC) will cease at their sunset dates in either 2014 or 2015. According to ECHA, these SVHCs are "are carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction or persist in the environment and accumulate in living organisms."

More information on phthalates can be found on the Phthalates Wikipedia page or ACC's Phthalate Esters Panel web page.  For contrasting information from an NGO activist organization, the Environmental Working Group also has a Phthalate web page.

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