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Denmark yields to EU pressure and scraps phthalate ban

The ban on plastic-softening chemicals would have been against EU rules, claims the European Commission


A EU ban exists on the use of the chemicals in toys, but not other products (Photo: Colourbox)

July 11, 2014
12:10

by Lawrence Shanahan


Denmark has finally yielded to pressure from the European Commission to repeal its proposed ban on four phthalate chemicals (DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP).

Studies have proven that if the chemicals are ingested they can be harmful to the public, causing in some cases sterilisation, young women to prematurely hit puberty and malformed genitalia in new-born babies.

“The use of these phthalates are so widespread that they pose a serious health risk especially for small children and pregnant women,” Green Alliance’s environment spokesperson Per Clausen said in a statement.

Ban on children’s toys
While the EU has acknowledged these side-effects by banning the use of phthalates in children’s toys, they have not got around to banning the chemicals across the board.

Phthalates can be found in products ranging from medical devices to rubber boots. They generally serve the purpose of making plastics softer, more flexible and more durable.

Back in 2012, Denmark proposed the ban, which was set to come into effect in 2013. However, it was later postponed until 2015, and now it has been repealed altogether.

Environment poster-boy no longer
“EU rules should not prevent individual member states from protecting their citizens,” the former environment minister, Ida Auken, told Politken.

Nevertheless, Denmark has given into the pressure and scrapped its plans to ban the harmful chemicals. 



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