The perils of PVC

Published: Sunday 15 March 1998

soft pvc toys for infants release unacceptable quantities of hazardous substances, says a Scientific Committee of the European Union (eu) in Brussels. The Committee states that exposure of babies to the three softeners added to pvc toys - the phthalates dinp , dehp and dnop - can be hazardous. Doses of these phthalates from soft pvc toys exceed the margin of safety.

The findings show that soft pvc toys are a direct source of toxic chemicals to small children.It appears that the leaching of phthalates is closely related to the quantities in which they are used in toys - any chemical additives present in pvc in significant quantities, such as phthalates, may also leach out and pose a hazard.

A draft legal ban on baby toys requiring softeners has already been notified to the European Commission by Austria, and recommendations for voluntary withdrawals of soft pvc toys intended to be put in the mouth of small children have been made by the Danish, Dutch, German and Belgian health authorities. pvc is a significant source of dioxin and secondary hazardous wastes.

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