In an article published on March 21, 2017 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) reports that its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) have agreed on a proposal to restrict four phthalates in articles. ECHA and Denmark have proposed to ban bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7), dibutyl phthalate (DBP, CAS 84-74-2), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP, CAS 84-69-5), and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP, CAS 85-68-7) in articles “that cause exposure through the skin or by inhalation, such as flooring, coated fabrics and paper, recreational gear and equipment, mattresses, footwear, office supplies and equipment, and other articles moulded or coated with plastic.” RAC adopted its opinion in support of the proposal and also SEAC agreed its draft opinion concluding that “the proposed restriction is the most appropriate EU-wide measure to address the identified risks in terms of the proportionality of its socio-economic benefits to its costs.” In addition to their previously recognized reprotoxicity, DEHP, DBP, DIBP, and BBP were recently also recognized as substances of very high concern (SVHCs) due to their endocrine disrupting properties and consequent effects on human health (FPF reported). ECHA informs that the final decision on the restriction proposal “will be taken by the European Commission through a committee procedure.”

DEHP, DBP, and BBP are included as additives in the Union List of substances authorized for use in plastic food contact materials (FCMs) (Annex I of Regulation (EU) No 10/2011), in the ESCO working group list of non-plastic FCMs, as well as in the FACET inventory of FCMs. DIBP is listed in the ESCO and FACET inventories. A recent study by the Food Packaging Forum provided evidence that these four phthalates are present in and/or migrate from FCMs (FPF reported).

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ECHA (March 21, 2017). “Restriction proposal on four phthalates and several authorization applications agreed by RAC and SEAC.

Chemical Watch (March 23, 2017). “Echa’s Rac and Seac agree on phthalates restriction proposal.

Plasteurope (March 31, 2017). “PLASTICS AND HEALTH. DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP to be added to SVHC list/ Endocrine disruptors.