Flexible PVC made with high phthalates is safe for use

30 March 2011

Flexible PVC articles made with high molecular weight phthalate plasticisers (also known as high phthalates), including flooring, wall coverings, and furniture, are safe for use in all environments including kindergartens. Consumers and parents alike can rest assured as this has been demonstrated through EU safety evaluations.

Comprehensive risk assessments, independent scientific committee opinions, and European Chemicals Agency reports support the safe use of high phthalates. However, recent statements from German Friends of the Earth (BUND) and the Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt -UBA) have raised concerns about phthalates without differentiating between classified low phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DIBP) and high phthalates (DINP, DIDP, DPHP).

High phthalates are not classified substances and therefore they are not “slated to follow” low phthalates on to the REACH Candidate list as mentioned in UBA’s press release. .

European plasticiser producers also note that it is not accurate to refer to “offgassing” or migration of phthalates from flexible PVC articles. Phthalate plasticisers are tightly bound within PVC, even in abraded particles that may be collected in the form of dust. At the same time, scientific studies (1) have concluded that household dust does not correlate to exposure levels for phthalates, neither is this an indicator of indoor air quality (2) .

Any proposals to ban “all phthalates” are not based on scientific facts and should be rejected. ECPI and its members are committed to product safety, and will continue to support the use of sound science and risk assessment in regulatory decisions relating to plasticisers.

Le PVC souple à base de phtalates longs ne pose pas de risque pour un usage au quotidien” Press release in French
Weich PVC mit hochmolekularen Phthalat-Weichmachern ist in den Anwendungen sicher” Press release in German

1. Kerstin Becker et al. “DEHP metabolites in urine of children and DEHP in house dust”. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 207 (2004); 409-417.
2. H. Fromme et al., “Occurrence of phthalates and musk fragrances in indoor air and dust from apartments and kindergartens in Berlin (Germany), Indoor Air 2003, 1-8

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