The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) launched a public consultation on the Swedish proposal to reclassify diisohexyl phthalate (CAS n 68515-50-4) as a repro-toxic category 1B substance. At present, there is no harmonised classification for this low molecular weight phthalate (3-6 carbon atoms in the backbone of the side chains), also known under the acronym and DIHexP.

This substance was proposed by Sweden for classification based on a ‘category approach’: while there is very little data available on di-isohexyl phthalate the proposal “reads across”  the current classification status of similar phthalate esters with 10% and more  alkyl side chains with a carbon backbone of C3 – C6. In addition to diisohexyl phthalate, this category includes the four low molecular weight phthalates DIBP, DBP, BBP and DEHP which are currently on annex XIV

The European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) would like to highlight the fact that to the best of our knowledge, this particular phthalate, DIHexP is no longer produced in Europe or imported in significant quantities. Regarding high phthalates, the Swedish proposal states that “high molecular weight phthalates have no significant effect on male sexual differentiation and only minor developmental effects can be observed at high doses, mainly increased frequency of skeletal variations. ECPI agrees with this factual statement on high molecular weight phthalates (DINP, DIDP, DPHP).

ECHA’s public consultation will be open until 21 September 2012.