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Denmark Proposes Ban On Phthalates

by Britt E. Erickson
September 3, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 36

Going against the European Commission, Denmark’s environment minister, Ida Auken, has announced that Denmark plans to ban four phthalates—di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)—in consumer products. Auken expects to introduce the ban this fall, prohibiting the import and sale of products containing any of the four phthalates, including shower curtains, tablecloths, and vinyl flooring. The ban would not apply to phthalates in some products, such as cosmetics and toys, that are already governed by European Union regulations. In an Aug. 23 statement, Auken stressed that Denmark cannot wait for the EU, which is planning to evaluate the safety of the four chemicals in the spring of 2013. Phthalates are commonly used to soften plastics and have come under scrutiny because of their ability to disrupt hormones. Auken claims that numerous alternatives to the four chemicals exist today and that they are already being used in products such as toys. Denmark is likely to face legal action from the EU if it moves forward with the ban, but Auken says, “It is necessary to take up this fight.”


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