EU Committee Identifies DEHP as Endocrine Disruptor

19.12.2014 -

The EU's member state committee (MSC) has unanimously agreed to identify the phthalate DEHP as a "substance of very high concern" (SVHC) to the environment but could not agree on whether to extend the classification to human health.

In the absence of a consensus, the MSC for the first time ever will send two opinions on the SVHC proposals to the European Commission, which will make the final decision.

Although the majority of MSC members held that the low molecular weight phthalate used principally in PVC products probably has cancerous, mutagen, and reprotoxic properties, a minority thought the reprotoxicity classification for the environment was sufficient.

The case dates back to 2012, when the Danish environment ministry announced it would single-handedly ban DEHP along with DBP, DIBP and BBP, as they had been linked to reduced sperm count in boys as well as early onset of puberty in girls and were also suspected of causing liver cancer in mice.

Under pressure from the Commission, which reminded Denmark that individual member states had no mandate for unilateral action, the proposal was withdrawn, a review of DEHP placed on the agenda.

Under the REACh procedure, the Risk Assessment Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will submit the MSC opinion to the Commission after it is adopted following in the MSC's February 2015 Meeting.