On 16 September 2011, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) opened a consultation on the restriction dossier for the classified low molecular weight phthalates DEHP, DIBP, DBP and BBP presented by Denmark. This followed the decision of the Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Analysis Committees that the dossier is in conformance with the REACH information requirements.

Denmark has proposed “a ban for the placing on the market of articles intended for use indoors and articles that may come into direct contact with the skin or mucous membranes containing one or more of these four phthalates [DEHP, DIBP, DBP and BBP] in a concentration greater than 0.1 % by weight of any plasticised material”. The basis given by Denmark for these proposed restrictions is the Category 1B reproductive classification for these phthalates and the potential for effects from combined exposure.

The objective of the REACH restriction process is to regulate the manufacture, placing on the market or use of substances, including those in articles and preparations, if they are considered to pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

The public consultation will run until 16 March 2012. Given the high impact – especially on imported articles – a high number of stakeholders are expected to comment.

Opinions from the ECHA Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Analysis Committees will also be provided before a final decision is made by the European Commission and Member States, probably in 2013. ECPI is committed to work with the European authorities in this process.

Several DEHP producers in Europe are separately working on the authorisation of DEHP in a number of key applications. Under the REACH process the producers have until August 2013 in which to apply for authorisation.

ECPI and its members are committed to product safety, and will continue to promote the use of sound science and responsible risk assessment within the regulatory framework.
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 and Deza (both producing DEHP), BASF, Evonik Industries, 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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