Time to Stop Fear-Mongering Toy Campaign Says Industry

Phthalate Scare is Fear-Based, Not Fact-Based;

EU Scientific Committee Report Provides No Evidence Of Health Hazard



Dec 02, 1998, 00:00 ET from European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates from ,Toys Industries

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    BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued jointly
 by the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) and Toys
 Industries Europe (TIE):
 
     The European toy and plasticiser industries are publicly calling on
 environmental organizations to stop their ill-informed and fear-mongering
 campaign which is scaring parents into believing their children can be harmed
 by sucking soft plastic toys.
     There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that the phthalate
 plasticisers, used to make toys soft and flexible, are a health hazard to
 children, say the industries. And yet Greenpeace and the European consumer
 organization BEUC continue to frighten parents with misguided suggestions that
 they might be carcinogenic to children or cause human reproductive problems.
     "It's time to put the record straight and to stop misleading the public,"
 says Dr Cadogan, Director of the European Council for Plasticisers and
 Intermediates (ECPI). "They are not only being extremely selective in what
 they are choosing to say, they are also taking it largely out of context."
     The industries' firm warning that parents are being duped into believing
 that soft plastic toys are unsafe comes in the wake of the publication
 yesterday (November 30) of a revised opinion by the EU Scientific Committee
 for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) and renewed calls by the
 consumer groups for a ban on vinyl toys.
     The CSTEE opinion does not state that plasticised toys are unsafe or that
 they are a health hazard. "In fact it was good news in that the CSTEE has now
 recognized that there is a far greater margin of safety than they at first
 thought for diisononyl phthalate (DINP) which is the most commonly used
 plasticiser in children's toys," said Dr Cadogan.
     Taking into account a recent study conducted in the Netherlands, the CSTEE
 has concluded that there is a 75-fold safety margin between the highest
 possible level to which a child could be exposed on a daily basis and the
 level at which no health effects have been seen in rodents.
     "They are still concerned because they would like to see a 100-fold safety
 factor but even this has to be put in context," he said. "Firstly, the
 Committee has not taken into account a more recent scientific study that would
 have given them a 440-fold safety margin. But, even more importantly, we are
 not even comparing like with like. The level at which effects occur in rodents
 are very different to those which occur in man. In order to observe signs of
 toxicity, rodents had to be fed massive doses of the plasticisers. At even
 greater doses no such signs of toxicity have been seen in primates which are
 more closely related to man."
     Based on rodent studies, the CSTEE has stated that they also have a
 concern relating to the safety margins of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).
 However, they have similarly failed to recognize no effects are seen in
 primates or that this product is very rarely used in children's toys and
 virtually not at all in any items designed to be put in the mouth by children
 under three years old.
     "Soft toys have been made from plasticised vinyl for more than 40 years
 and it is one of the most well-researched of all materials. There's not even
 one case of a child having suffered any ill-health as a result," said Dr
 Cadogan.
     "In the sort of quantities any child is likely to be exposed to, there is
 nothing to worry about. If there were, industry would react responsibly and
 very swiftly indeed."
     It is a view that is shared equally by the toys industry.
     "We fully support the CSTEE's recommendation that interlaboratory
 comparison tests be carried out in order to validate the Dutch laboratory
 method to measure the phthalate release from toys," said Maurits Bruggink,
 Secretary General of Toys Industries Europe. "Indeed, the industry is already
 actively working on this with the Dutch authorities and the European
 Commission to ensure that the process is accelerated.
     "At the same time, we fully understand why parents are concerned,
 especially when you consider the amount of misinformation that is being fed to
 them. An unfortunate consequence has been the announcement by some companies
 that they will use alternative raw materials, not because their products are
 unsafe but simply because of pressure. In the end it will be the consumer who
 will suffer, not only from lack of choice, but also because many raw materials
 are far less well understood.
     "We respect any decision a parent may make as to whether a toy is safe or
 appropriate to use but they must know the full facts in order to make an
 informed decision. We want parents to know that they can buy, use and keep
 their current toys without any fear about the safety of their children."
 
 

SOURCE European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates; Toys Industries
    BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued jointly
 by the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) and Toys
 Industries Europe (TIE):
 
     The European toy and plasticiser industries are publicly calling on
 environmental organizations to stop their ill-informed and fear-mongering
 campaign which is scaring parents into believing their children can be harmed
 by sucking soft plastic toys.
     There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that the phthalate
 plasticisers, used to make toys soft and flexible, are a health hazard to
 children, say the industries. And yet Greenpeace and the European consumer
 organization BEUC continue to frighten parents with misguided suggestions that
 they might be carcinogenic to children or cause human reproductive problems.
     "It's time to put the record straight and to stop misleading the public,"
 says Dr Cadogan, Director of the European Council for Plasticisers and
 Intermediates (ECPI). "They are not only being extremely selective in what
 they are choosing to say, they are also taking it largely out of context."
     The industries' firm warning that parents are being duped into believing
 that soft plastic toys are unsafe comes in the wake of the publication
 yesterday (November 30) of a revised opinion by the EU Scientific Committee
 for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) and renewed calls by the
 consumer groups for a ban on vinyl toys.
     The CSTEE opinion does not state that plasticised toys are unsafe or that
 they are a health hazard. "In fact it was good news in that the CSTEE has now
 recognized that there is a far greater margin of safety than they at first
 thought for diisononyl phthalate (DINP) which is the most commonly used
 plasticiser in children's toys," said Dr Cadogan.
     Taking into account a recent study conducted in the Netherlands, the CSTEE
 has concluded that there is a 75-fold safety margin between the highest
 possible level to which a child could be exposed on a daily basis and the
 level at which no health effects have been seen in rodents.
     "They are still concerned because they would like to see a 100-fold safety
 factor but even this has to be put in context," he said. "Firstly, the
 Committee has not taken into account a more recent scientific study that would
 have given them a 440-fold safety margin. But, even more importantly, we are
 not even comparing like with like. The level at which effects occur in rodents
 are very different to those which occur in man. In order to observe signs of
 toxicity, rodents had to be fed massive doses of the plasticisers. At even
 greater doses no such signs of toxicity have been seen in primates which are
 more closely related to man."
     Based on rodent studies, the CSTEE has stated that they also have a
 concern relating to the safety margins of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).
 However, they have similarly failed to recognize no effects are seen in
 primates or that this product is very rarely used in children's toys and
 virtually not at all in any items designed to be put in the mouth by children
 under three years old.
     "Soft toys have been made from plasticised vinyl for more than 40 years
 and it is one of the most well-researched of all materials. There's not even
 one case of a child having suffered any ill-health as a result," said Dr
 Cadogan.
     "In the sort of quantities any child is likely to be exposed to, there is
 nothing to worry about. If there were, industry would react responsibly and
 very swiftly indeed."
     It is a view that is shared equally by the toys industry.
     "We fully support the CSTEE's recommendation that interlaboratory
 comparison tests be carried out in order to validate the Dutch laboratory
 method to measure the phthalate release from toys," said Maurits Bruggink,
 Secretary General of Toys Industries Europe. "Indeed, the industry is already
 actively working on this with the Dutch authorities and the European
 Commission to ensure that the process is accelerated.
     "At the same time, we fully understand why parents are concerned,
 especially when you consider the amount of misinformation that is being fed to
 them. An unfortunate consequence has been the announcement by some companies
 that they will use alternative raw materials, not because their products are
 unsafe but simply because of pressure. In the end it will be the consumer who
 will suffer, not only from lack of choice, but also because many raw materials
 are far less well understood.
     "We respect any decision a parent may make as to whether a toy is safe or
 appropriate to use but they must know the full facts in order to make an
 informed decision. We want parents to know that they can buy, use and keep
 their current toys without any fear about the safety of their children."
 
 SOURCE  European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates; Toys Industries