§ Dr. Howells
The European Commission's independent Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE) was consulted on the use of six phthalates in toys and child care articles intended to be mouthed. It concluded that these phthalates could be safely used, provided that any leaching from the toy or child care article did not exceed scientifically established tolerable daily intake (TDI) levels. The DTI, on the advice of the Department of Health, has supported the SCTEE conclusions with regard to DINP. As well as being subject to a very high safety margin for use, there is considerable evidence to indicate that humans are much less sensitive to the liver toxicity which rats exposed to extremely high doses demonstrate. Where the UK does consider there may be cause for greater EU-wide restrictions is in the use of another phthalate, DEHP, where scientific concerns have been raised. DEHP is not used in toys in the UK.
§ Dr. Howells
The Government have taken their steer from the European Commission's independent Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE). The SCTEE has held that, provided migration 289W does not exceed scientifically established levels, phthalates can be safely used. Testing has shown that products currently on UK shelves do not give any cause for concern. However, given public concern, and to try to bring in a harmonised EU approach, the Commission introduced a Decision, supported by all member states, to ban phthalates in items intended to be mouthed by small children. Phthalates leach only with difficulty, requiring very prolonged chewing before they are dislodged. When we consider the science and the risks, the ban reflects a very cautious approach. Had the science indicated otherwise, the Commission would have proposed a more stringent measure than the current ban.