The Persistent Problem of Phthalates

A recent report published by a consortium of 140 environmental groups shows that potentially risky chemicals known as phthalates are present in dozens of everyday plastic items which are still for sale by European retailers. The items range from shoes to erasers.

Six phthalates have been virtually banned in toys in the European Union since 1999. Research suggests that they can damage the sexual development of children. But the phthalates are still present in items routinely used by children, which are on sale in supermarkets.

Reuters reports:

“The study, based on a chemical analysis by PiCA, an independent chemical laboratory in Berlin, found one pink pencil case with levels three times those which the EU says should be the maximum in toys and ‘childcare articles.’ A phthalate that scientists suspect may be particularly harmful to humans was found in an eraser at a level close to that which would be banned in a toy.”

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