Friday, February 5, 2010

Finally chemical DEHP resritcted but what about the others ?


I am not a scientist nor have I studied senior chemistry, but it is very clear that internationally there is strong concern about health issues linked to chemicals that are used in plastics.

The website has recently announced that NICNAS (the Australian Government Chemical Assessment Scheme) has finally announced that restrictions should be placed on the chemical diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). DEHP is only one phthalate in a large group of phthalate chemicals used in plastic products that we consume.

Phthalates including DEHP are used as softeners in toys and many other products made of PVC plastic to make them soft and pliable.

Phthalate chemcials can be found in many applications such as plastic toys, plastic food storage and utensils, flooring, wall coverings, wall art, shower curtains, vinyl skins, sheaths for electric cables, coated fabrics and shoes and the list goes on....

Studies have linked phthalates to health concerns such as :
suspected of causing cancer, kidney damage and disruption of the body's hormone system. A study by the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy (, University of Denmark found that a child's risk of developing asthma and allergies increases when they are exposed to phthalates.

The PROPOSED Australian ban was announced Jan 25th 2010 yet is only for DEHP - diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) "in toys, childcare articles where significant mouth contact may occur and vessels and eating utensils for feeding infants".

A recent report by NICNAS found that "the risk of reproductive toxicity in children from the use of products containing DEHP is unacceptable" and recommended that the ACCC consider appropriate regulatory measures to limit children's exposure to DEHP.

Why has this taken so long ?
Why are all the other Phthalates banned in the EU also not banned in Australia ?

In July 2005, the EU permanently banned the use of phthalates DEHP, DBP and BBP in all children's articles. Additionally, the EU banned the use of DINP, DIDP, and DNOP in children's articles which can be put in the mouth. This ban became effective on January 16, 2007 .

The EU saw action on this health concern enforced in 2007 yet it has taken Australia an additional 3 years to make this PROPOSAL !

How long will it now take for the proposal to be accepted and enforced ?

Hooray for small steps ... the summary of all this is " avoid plastics" to protect your health.