On 14 September 2011, ChemSec, together with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and other NGOs, released the report “Home sweet home - dusty surprises under the bed”. It analyses the dust collected from bedrooms across the EU, Africa and Asia and concluded that certain disrupting chemicals were present in levels higher than earlier found. In particular, the study singled out the low phthalates DEHP, BBP and DBP as well as the high phthalate DINP as endocrine disruptors.

ECPI would like to underline the fact that the high phthalate DINP is not an endocrine disruptor. Recent independent studies have shown no evidence of adverse health effects related to the endocrine system. In particular, DINP has been subject to individual and comprehensive ten-year long risk assessment by the European Union looking at its environmental and health effects, which confirmed that DINP should not be classified as reproductive toxicant.

Furthermore, ECPI would like to draw attention to the fact that high phthalates do not readily migrate and leach into the environment from articles because they are physically bound within the PVC matrix, even in abraded particles that may be collected in the form of dust. Flexible PVC particles in dust do not cause a risk to human health. At the same time, scientific studies have concluded that household dust does not correlate to human exposure levels for phthalates, and is not an indicator of indoor air quality(1).

It is therefore not scientifically sound to conclude that levels in dust equate to exposure and therefore exceed safe limits. In addition, the EU approach on combined exposure is still under development so it is totally incorrect to refer to “what public authorities today consider to be safe, if the cocktail effect is considered.”

The protection of consumer is of paramount importance to the plasticisers industry. ECPI and its members are committed to product safety, and will continue to support the use of sound science and risk assessment when analysing and assessing phthalate plasticisers.

1. 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. 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. Tobias Schripp et al. “Chamber studies on mass-transfer of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and di-n-butylphthalate (DnBP) from emission sources into house dust”, Atmospheric Environment 44 (2010)
ECPI Scientific Working Group Report 110301 – “Endocrine Data Evaluation Report” – March 2011

About ECPI: The European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates is a Brussels-based trade association representing the common interests of European manufacturers of plasticisers, alcohols and acids. Member companies are Arkema, BASF, Evonik Oxeno, ExxonMobil, Oxochimie and Perstorp. ECPI is a sector group of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, which represents the interests of the European chemical industry.

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