EU members agree to restrict 4 phthalates

Representatives from European Union member states voted unanimously to prohibit the use of four phthalates in consumer products sold in the EU. The four chemicals—butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)—are associated with toxic effects on reproductive health. They are widely used as plasticizers in numerous products, including toys and sports equipment. The July 11 vote of the committee that oversees the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program sets in motion a three-month review of the proposed restrictions by the European Parliament and Council, before adoption by the European Commission. The measure, which bans the presence of the four phthalates in consumer products and indoor areas at concentrations “equal to or above 0.1% by weight individually or in any combination,” will go into effect 18 months after it is adopted by the commission.