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Published: Saturday 31 October 1998

SWEDEN became the third European Union member state to impose a ban on phthalate softeners in plastic vinyl chemical (PVC) toys. The ban will come into force early next year. The Swedish government issued a statement saying it does not want children below the age of three to get exposed to the risks that follow from the usage of phthalates in toys.

Greenpeace, an environmental organisation, has congratulated the Swedish government for taking precautionary measures and has urged other countries to also impose a similar ban. Austria was the first country to impose a ban on phthalates in soft PVC toys. This was followed by an announcement by the Danish government. The Norwegian government is also drafting a legislation to check use of phthalates in toys and children's articles. The Swedish legislation goes to the extent of banning other chemical additives used as a substitute for phthalates.

The European Commission had recommended that member states to take appropriate measures to ensure child health protection. The commission also removed PVC toys from creches run by it for its employees' children.

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