Denmark Publishes Report on Phthalates in Toys, Childcare Articles and Other Children’s Products
19 February 2016
Hong Kong traders should be informed that the Danish Environmental Protection Agency carried out a project on phthalates in toys, childcare articles and other products for children. The published report, now available in English, describes the project, including a market survey and its results.
Hong Kong companies exporting goods to the EU intended for children, including toys, will be aware that some phthalates are classified as toxic to reproduction while other phthalates are considered to have endocrine disrupting properties. Therefore, certain phthalates are restricted in toys and children’s articles placed on the EU market, including Denmark. The restrictions are set out in Annex XVII (Entries 51 and 52) of the REACH Regulation.
In the Danish project, the content, release and exposure to phthalates from several different products for children were investigated, namely:
- Toys used by children under 14 years during play;
- Childcare articles which are intended to, or which can, be put in the mouth by children at age 0 to 3 years;
- Other products for children which are neither toys nor childcare articles but which are intended for children below 14 years. Examples include wristwatches and bicycle handles.
The purpose of the project has been to provide an overview of children’s exposure to phthalates with antiandrogen (i.e. androgen-blocking) effects, from toys, childcare articles and other products for children, as well as to perform market surveillance in relation to the legislative requirements concerning phthalates in toys and childcare articles. Another purpose has been to investigate whether other products for children contain and release phthalates in concentrations which may be problematic for them.
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency selected 34 toy items and 7 childcare articles for market surveillance (e.g. a doll, a beach ball and a badminton set). For further migration analysis, 35 ‘other products for children’ were distributed, of the following product types: (i) bicycle handles, including handlebar tape; (ii) mobile covers for smartphones and tablets as well as bags for mobiles and; (iii) wrist watches.
The results demonstrated that 9 toy items and 1 childcare article contained phthalates in concentrations above 0.5%. Whether this phthalate content is in compliance with the applicable legislation depends on the identified phthalates as well as the target group (age bracket) in relation to the toys.
The results thus showed that 9 out of 10 products with an identified phthalate content in a concentration above 0.05% failed to comply with the applicable EU legislation restricting phthalates. As for the 35 ‘other products for children’, the analyses demonstrated that 10 products contained 1 or more phthalates in a concentration above 1% (i.e. 2 bicycle handles, 6 mobile covers and 2 wrist watches).
Hong Kong traders may want to know that the study-organisers also carried out an assessment of the total risk of exposure to phthalates from several sources. Previous investigations of phthalates in the indoor environment showed that great variations are found between individual households.
Similarly, the report emphasised that the exposure data that was used in the case of food represents values from before a ban came into effect, on use of these phthalates in food contact materials.
The study-organisers analysed the exposure calculation carried out in earlier projects, added up with the results from this report. On this basis, they concluded that the exposure to phthalates with antiandrogen effects may present a health risk in a realistic worst-case situation. This is due to the use of single products with a high content of phthalates with antiandrogen effects, such as plastic sandals and erasers, as well as the fact that the exposure to food, for instance, can be overestimated compared to the real values of today. Further investigations are therefore necessary to confirm these results.
In conclusion, the report underlines that exposure to a few phthalates in single products, examined as part of this project, does not necessarily always constitute a risk but that the total exposure to more phthalates with antiandrogen effects from several sources, in a realistic worst-case scenario, may constitute a health risk for children up to six years of age. A large part of the risk is due to the use of a few products with a high phthalate content as well as assumptions that phthalates are still present in food as was the case some years ago.
Please click on the following link to view the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s report: Survey and health assessment of phthalates in toys and other products for children.
- Toys & Games
- Baby Products