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Regulation

EU moves toward strict controls on 3 plastics chemicals and PFBS

ECHA wants to ensure that diisohexyl phthalate isn’t used as a substitute for other phthalates

by Cheryl Hogue
January 17, 2020

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The European Union is taking aim at two chemicals used in polymer production, a phthalate, and a perfluorinated compound and its salts. All are now on a list of substances that are candidates for strict regulation.

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If the chemicals on the list are selected for further controls, companies would only be allowed to use them if the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) authorizes specific uses.

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ECHA says it added three of the substances to the list on Jan. 16 because they are reproductive toxics. Two of these are used in the manufacture of polymers: 2-benzyl-2-dimethylamino-4′-morpholinobutyrophenone and 2-methyl-1-(4-methylthiophenyl)-2-morpholinopropan-1-one. The third is diisohexyl phthalate, a chemical that is not registered for production or use in the EU. Regulators want to ensure that diisohexyl phthalate is not used as a substitute for other phthalates that are queued up for tight regulation in the EU.

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Also added to the list were perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and its salts. These are used as processing aids in the manufacture of fluoropolymers and as flame retardants in polycarbonate components for electronic equipment, ECHA says. PFBS chemicals are also used to make water- and stain-resistant coatings on fabrics, carpets and paper. They were introduced to replace surfactants based on perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. PFBS has been widely found in drinking water and is linked to adverse thyroid and kidney effects in laboratory animals.

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