Denmark Drops Plans for Go-it-Alone Phthalates Ban

18.07.2014 -

Denmark has, at least temporarily, abandoned plans proposed two years ago to restrict the use of phthalates in plasticisers beyond the rules already stipulated by the EU's REACH legislation.

In 2012, the country's environment minister, Ida Auken, had announced plans to implement a wider ban from 2013, encompassing the phthalates ban DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP, but later postponed it to 2015.

The prospective single-handed ban was opposed by the European Commission. It recently received a further blow when the European Court of Justice, ruling on a similar issue, said member states are not authorized to act of their own accord.

In 2005, the EU banned DINP, DIDP and DNOP in toys and other articles that children can potentially put in their mouth, but declined to pursue earlier plans for DEHP, DBP and BBP.

In 2012, Auken said these low molecular weight phthalates had been linked to reduced sperm count in boys as well as early onset of puberty in girls and were suspected of causing liver cancer in mice.

Along with EU institutions, the Danish go-it-alone action is said to have fallen victim to the widespread prevalence in the country of products containing phtalates - in particular imported PVC flooring. The environment ministry acknowledged that manufacturers and imports might need more time to comply with the proposed restrictions.

Denmark's current environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøll, said she will ask the the next EU health commissioner to put endocrine disruptors on the agenda for discussion again. She believes she can count on the support of both Sweden and France.

The French government is believed to have already pressured the EU to stop foot dragging on its endocrine disruptor strategy. In May of this year, Swedish environment minister Lena Ek threatened to the EU over a lack of progress in regulating endocrine disruptors.