On November 13, 2013 the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) opened the public consultation on 7 applications for authorization for uses of bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). The 2 phthalates, which have been listed as chemicals of concern under Annex XIV of the European Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulation are classified as toxic to reproduction. They require authorization by ECHA in order to be used in industrial applications by companies. During the consultation process third parties may submit suggestions for alternatives for the uses specified by the 7 applicants. 3 of the applications for DEHP include production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) articles for food contact materials (FCMs) as uses. DEHP is authorized for use in plastic FCM under EC 10/2011 and may migrate into food at levels up to 1.5 mg/kg. The applicants argue that alternatives to DEHP use in PVC are neither economically nor technically feasible. Anna Lennquist, toxicologist for the non-governmental organization the Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), comments that many companies have successfully phased out DEHP, but the broadness of the applications denying feasible alternatives make it difficult for third parties to propose concrete alternatives. Although DBP is also authorized for use in plastic FCM in Europe none of the applicants applied for the use of DBP in FCMs.

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ECHA (November 13, 2013). “Applications for authorisation.”

ChemSec (November 21, 2013). “Public consultations for authorisation of phthalates launched by ECHA, including the use of DEHP in PVC.