German ministers urge crackdown on phthalate, fault REACH rules

23 March 2011 18:30  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Two German state ministers want the country’s federal government to step up measures against harmful phthalates, including a possible ban, not only in toys but in all materials and products to which children have exposure, they said on Wednesday.

The environment and the family minister of Germany’s biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, said the EU's REACH chemical rules requiring product approvals for three phthalates by 2015 were not sufficient.

“We need an absolute ban on the EU level,” environment minister Johannes Remmel said.

He criticised federal consumer protection minister Ilse Aigner, saying she had not followed through on a pledge from 2009 for Germany to implement a unilateral ban, if necessary.

The ministers’ call came as Germany’s environmental pressure group BUND said a study found that many day-care centres had dust levels containing excessive amounts of phthalate.

Germany’s federal environmental agency, UBA, acknowledged the BUND study.

However, the agency said REACH rules obliged producers to disclose any phthalate or other substances in their products that caused health concerns.

As such, parents and operators of day-care centres should use the REACH rules to ensure that they only bought products that did not contain hazardous phthalate levels, the agency said.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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