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Authorisation for DEHP a step in the wrong direction

Three companies have been granted authorisation by Member States to recycle the hazardous phthalate DEHP into PVC products such as flooring and footwear, the ENDS Report writes.

ChemSec Policy Advisor Frida Hök is concerned about the decision and questions the reasons for authorisation since many companies already stopped using DEHP.

– Many companies managed to phase out DEHP years ago. These companies do not want recycled materials possibly containing this very hazardous substance. This is really a step in the wrong direction for REACH, she says.

Ms Hök also argues that there is plenty of known safer alternatives to DEHP, which makes this case of authorisation seem even more peculiar.

It’s not only ChemSec who finds the DEHP authorisation controversial. The right to continued use was granted even though the European Parliament urged member states to do the opposite, based on the fact that the companies could not provide adequate proof that the benefits of continued use outweigh the socio economic drawbacks.

– It’s unfortunate that the REACH Committee decided to ignore the vote of elected MEPs in the Parliament, and continue to expose EU citizen to DEHP, which have well known harmful effects to human health and the environment, Frida Hök says.

This case of authorisation is also important from another view. Since it concerns DEHP from recycled material it strongly connects to the future of circular economy.

– In order to achieve a truly sustainable and safe circular economy, we must accept that not all materials can be reused or recycled. They may contain unwanted substances that should not re-enter the market.

– One of the key points raised in our meetings with producers and downstream users, is the need to be able to trust the material they use is clean enough to keep customers safe and their brand reputations unharmed, Frida Hök concludes.

DEHP on the SIN List

ChemSec’s position on Circular Economy

Report: The Bigger Picture