Children beware!

leading chemical companies called for European Union ( eu ) legislation to regulate the use of pvc -softening chemicals to guarantee public safety and stop a proliferation of unilateral national restrictions. eu consumer affairs commissioner Emma Bonino unsuccessfully pushed last year for an eu -wide ban on toys containing phthalates on concerns they could damage human health. The European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates ( ecpi ) said that recent scientific data suggests that phthalates can be used in childrens' toys without health risks. "There's absolutely no evidence that humans are at risk by the sort of amounts a child can take in by sucking a toy," ecpi 's deputy-director Tim Edgar said. "We need reliable legislation to rebuild people's confidence," he said. Following reports that phthalates used to soften pvc in toys and childcare items such as teething rings could cause cancer and liver, kidney and hormonal damage, Greece, Finland, Sweden, Austria and Denmark have banned the substances.

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