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Phthalates in school supplies

 

About this Publication on Phthalates in school supplies

  1. Source for this Publication
  2. The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)
  3. Background to the SCHER opinion
  4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCHER

1. Source for this Publication

The texts quoted in Level 3 are directly sourced from the Opinion on  "Phthalates in school supplies", produced in 2008 by the SCHER (Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks) of the European Commission.

Levels 1 & 2 were written by the GreenFacts Editorial Team in collaboration with DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

This publication is produced by GreenFacts under a contract from the DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

2. The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)

The SCHER (Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks) is one of three independent non-food scientific committees set up in 2004 and renewed in 2009 by the European Commission to advise the Commission on matters of consumer safety, public health and the environment.

The SCHER provides the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on health and environmental risks related to pollutants in the environmental media and other biological and physical factors or changing physical conditions which may have a negative impact on health and the environment, for example in relation to air quality, water, waste and soils, as well as on life cycle environmental assessment. It also addresses health and safety issues related to the toxicity and eco-toxicity of biocides.

For further information on the SCHER, see:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scher/04_scher_en.htm 

3. Background to the SCHER opinion

In 2007, the Danish Environment protection agency analysed phthalates in school supplies in its report: "Survey as well as health assessment of chemical substances in school bags, toy bags, pencil cases and erasers" .

At the request of the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) assessed the overall scientific quality of the Danish report.

The Opinion on  "Phthalates in school supplies", was adopted by the SCHER on 17 October 2008, following a public consultation.

4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCHER

For its Opinion on  "Phthalates in school supplies", the European Commission has requested SCHER the following:

  1. To assess the overall scientific quality of the report [of the Danish Environment Protection Agency] on the phthalates analysed, in particular DEHP and DINP, and to comment in particular on its completeness and reliability, and on the validity of its conclusions. If SCHER disagrees with such conclusions, it is invited to elaborate on the reasons. If SCHER disagrees with the approaches or methods used to assess the risks, it is invited to suggest possible alternatives.

    In particular, does the Committee agree with the approach adopted in which:

    • The articles were cut into very small pieces of 2g for migration measurement (p. 38 of the report)?
    • Artificial sweat was used as a surrogate for saliva (pp. 9 and 38 of the report)?
    • It is assumed that children bite off pieces of articles (especially erasers) and swallow them. Is it considered appropriate to compare such exposure, when happening daily, to a NOAEL derived from chronic animal studies (pp. 64 - 66 of the report)?
  2. To express an opinion on the specific issues including

    • Whether the six phthalates covered by Directive 2005/84/EC may present a risk in certain or all school supplies;
    • Whether the exposure to the six phthalates covered by Directive 2005/84/EC from school supplies, in addition to the exposure from toys and childcare articles and other sources indoor such as PVC-floorings, may present a risk;
    • Whether the exposure to other phthalates than those covered by Directive 2005/84/EC may present a risk, taking into account recent scientific information.

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