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CHEMICAL EXPOSURE
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NEWS OF THE WEEK
HEALTH
June 25, 2001
Volume 79, Number 26
CENEAR 79 26 pp. 12
ISSN 0009-2347
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PANEL CONCLUDES PHTHALATE IS SAFE
Polyvinyl chloride plasticizer poses little risk of injury for most children

BETTE HILEMAN

A scientific panel convened by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded that the polyvinyl chloride plasticizer diisononyl phthalate (DINP) does not pose a risk to humans. Even though DINP causes cancer and reproductive malformations in rodents, exposures are so low that it cannot plausibly increase such risks in humans, the panel says.

7926duckie
PHOTO BY PEGGY CORRIGAN
DINP is used as a plasticizer in PVC toys and in other products. Children who spend about three hours a day mouthing PVC toys softened with DINP receive the greatest exposures, ingesting as much as 0.28 mg of DINP per kilogram of body weight per day, the panel says. The acceptable daily intake is 0.12 mg per kg per day. Therefore, for those children who routinely mouth DINP-plasticized toys for 75 minutes per day or more, "there may be a DINP risk," the panel says. But for the majority of children, exposure to DINP from PVC toys would "pose a minimal or nonexistent risk of injury," the panel concludes.

In 1998, when CPSC asked the toy industry to stop using DINP in toys intended for very young children, such as teething rings, the industry complied by substituting citrate as a plasticizer or switching to polypropylene. "We feel vindicated," by the CPSC panel's findings, says David A. Miller, president of the Toy Manufacturers of America. "We hope DINP can be used again in children's products because it's the best material out there," he explains.

Marian Stanley, manager of the Phthalate Esters Panel at the American Chemistry Council, says the report "strongly supports the conclusion that DINP in consumer products does not present a significant health concern for children or adults." She adds that the CPSC panel's findings are consistent with reports by the European Union and the National Toxicology Program.

However, Rick Hind of Greenpeace notes that only a fraction of the branched C9 isomers in the DINP family have been tested and that estimates of DINP exposure are likely to be low because dermal exposures are not addressed. Greenpeace is calling for a ban on all PVC toys.

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