The European Parliament voted last week to expand the ban on phthalates, used in PVC toys. That will not protect children to any existing risk. That is the opinion of all main-stream scientists, including those of the scientific commission of the EC, the CSTEE, themselves. To the contrary, alternative toys may be even really dangerous, as rubber pacifiers had to be withdrawn from the market in Belgium last year for too high nitrosamine content, a real human carcinogen. The following comment in one of the leading Swedish newspapers gives a very good summary of what the European Parliament voted for.
With our addition that Greenpeace was convicted several times for telling
half truths (and untruths) about PVC (and phthalates) in several European
Countries, last year by the Dutch Advertising
Code Council, for calling PVC toys with phthalates "toxic"...
Already many years ago Greenpeace declared war against PVC. The plastic became symbol for an unnatural material that does not belong in an ecologically sustainable environment. But it was only when Greenpeace started claiming that children could be harmed by the plastic toys that it caught the attention of the media and policy makers. In fact the warnings to do not concern PVC itself, but the softeners that are used in some applications. The idea is that the substance can leak from the plastic and cause health problems. The European Commission has taken the position to ban six types of softeners. Last Thursday the European Parliament decided that the ban should include all softeners. Convincing scientific documentation that proves that softeners are dangerous to humans does not exist. But rats and mice did develop cancer after having been stuffed with softeners in laboratory tests. To draw conclusions about human health on the basis of these tests is not credible. Bruce Ames, one of the world’s most respected cancer scientists has concluded that almost half of all chemicals that have been tested are poisonous when administered to mice in high dosages. This goes for both chemicals that are man-made and chemicals that exist naturally. After years of extensive research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is linked to the UN’s WHO, has reached the conclusion that the softener DEHP is not carcinogenic to humans. Per-Arne Arvidsson of the Moderate Party was rapporteur on the PVC question within the European Parliament. Other Moderates decided to follow his restrictive recommendations except for one item the proposal to implement a “…review of other applications of PVC products especially when it concerns PVC products used within the medical world”. PVC is a durable and hygienic material. Plastic floors are used amongst other things in hospitals and day nurseries, as it is important to maintain hygiene. Blood bags made of plastic have been used for forty years without any sign of humans having been harmed by it. A material, which is safe enough to contain things that are introduced in human blood, would reasonably also be safe enough to use for toys. Facts unfortunately play a minor role in current decision making processes. Greenpeace conducts a ruthless and non-factual campaign using our children as a weapon. It would be desirable if more politicians had enough civil courage to recognise the cynical bluff. The EU should not participate in this unsubstantial witch-hunt.
You are at level two of the Chlorophiles pages
Created: July 16, 2000.
Updated: January 1, 2002...
Home Page of the Chlorophiles
PVC and additives
PVC toys and phthalates
Comment on "Pandora's Poison", written by Joe Thornton.
For any comment on this or other pages, especially on phthalates:Chlorophiles@ping.be