Phthalates found in toys on the EU market

A recent study published by the ECHA’s Enforcement Forum Inspectors has found that a relatively high number of products on the European market (18% of the products of the sample) – contain chemicals restricted in the European Union.

A large amount of products were tested, including toys. The report shows that the toys represent one fifth of all problematic products – mainly due to the presence of phthalates, such as Bi(20ethylhexyl)(DEHP), Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).

Phthalates – are they dangerous for your health?

The phthalates are a family of chemical compounds widely used as an additive by the industry, mainly as plasticizers to increase the flexibility of a materials like PVC. As they are not chemically bound to the plastic and can be released from the product itself, children might get exposed.  For this reason, the phthalates are only allowed for use in products which cannot be placed in the mouth. Toys – due to their special intended use – fall under this restriction.

What does the law say?

Entries 51 and 52 of the Annex XVII of REACH[1] govern the conditions of restriction, which apply to the manufacture, placing on the market and use of certain dangerous substances, mixtures and articles for the following phthalates:

  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalates (DEHP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Di-`isononyl´phthalate (DINP)
  • Di-ìsodecyl´ phthalate (DIDP)
  • Di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP)

The phthalates cannot be used in concentrations greater than 0.1% by weight of the plasticized material of toys and childcare products.

The report also highlights the companies’ responsibility to get information on the chemical composition of their products from their suppliers. This may include proactively testing the products and concluding agreements with suppliers so that the chemical composition complies with the legal requirements.

Are you interested in launching your toy product in Europe? Obelis can help you! Please do not hesitate to contact us, we will gladly assist you in making your products compliant with the European legislation and introduce you in a 500 million people market.

[1] EU Regulation on chemical safety (EC No. 1907/2006)

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