In a press release published on December 11, 2014 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announces that its Member State Committee (MSC) unanimously agreed to recognize diethylhexyl phthalate’s (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) endocrine disrupting properties in the environment. In 2008, DEHP was placed on the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and subsequently also entered the Authorization List under REACH due to its toxicity to reproduction. Denmark previously proposed four phthalates to be identified as SVHCs, not only for their toxicity to reproduction, but also for their endocrine disrupting properties making them potentially harmful to both human health and the environment. Besides DEHP, Denmark proposed dibutylphthalate (DBP, CAS 84-74-2), di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP, CAS 84-69-5) and benzyl butylphthalate (BBP, CAS 85-68-7). These three compounds are also already listed in the SVHC Candidate List and the Authorization List because they are recognized as reproductive toxicants. DEHP, DBP and BBP are authorized for use in plastic food contact materials (FCMs) under Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and all four phthalates may still be used in the production of paper and board for food contact. Regarding the endocrine disrupting effects in the environment, Denmark decided to withdraw its SVHC-proposals for DBP, DiBP, and BBP to further elaborate on the justifications provided in the documentation. Regarding the human health aspects of the Danish proposals, the MSC unanimously agreed that there is scientific evidence of endocrine disrupting activity for all four substances and studies exist that link this activity and the induced harmful health effects. Consensus has not been reached as to whether this constitutes an equivalent level of concern as substances with CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction) properties. Some MSC members suggested that the concern related to endocrine disruption has already been included into the existing identification as SVHC due to toxicity to reproduction. The MSC opinion will be adopted in February 2015 and sent to the European Commission (EC) for final decision. The EC has three months to take a position.

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ECHA press release (December 11, 2014).