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Summary & conclusions

Lead in PVC
(What is vinyl plastic?)

Phthalate Plasticizers
New Report, November 1999:>
A discussion of the Koop Report Declaring PVC and phthalates to be safe

Other hazards


Authorship of this material

Easy-to-print version of this report (26 sec @ 28k)


Also see "REPORT CARD"(Dec, 1999) for toy manufacturers around the world: what actions they have taken, or pledged to take; who is using PVC for toys; who refused to provide information  on this page. ©GREENPEACE USA

December 16 1998. The General Secretary for Consumers (Greek Ministry of Development) Ms Christina Papanikolaou. Greece announced that Greece is planning to ban PVC toys containing phthalates for children under 3.

December 18, 1998. The Norwegian EPA proposed a ban on the production, distribution, import and export of toys and other products aimed at children aged under three and containing phthalate plasticisers. It was due to take effect on July 1 1999.

December 21 1998. In a letter to 28 members of Congress, Vice President Gore (on behalf of President Clinton) announced steps to have relevant government agencies investigate the hazards of phthalates in PVC toys. In addition the Administration announced a reversal of their lobbying position on this issue with regard to stronger policies by other countries; "I have made it clear that the Departments of Commerce and State should refrain from any actions to discourage individual countries, whether in the European Union or elsewhere, from implementing precautionary measures they deem appropriate to restrict the marketing or use of products containing phthalate[s]."

January 21 1999. EU Commissioner Emma Bonino said in an interview on BBC Radio 4 (You and Yours) that that she will be reconsidering a proposal for an emergency ban on a limited number of soft PVC toys, such as those designed to go in the mouth, and that she had written to all the commissioners on the issue. This follows the letter from US Vice President Al Gore, which removes the concerns about trade barriers and will make it more likely to be agreed by Commissioners.

February 1 1999. The EU Industry Commission proposes a permanent restriction on soft PVC toys, covering toys and childcare articles INTENDED to be put into the mouth by under three's, specifying an unlimited ban on the use of DEHP, but setting a migration limit for the most commonly used phthalate DINP. The majority of EU Member States at the meeting (Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Greece) made it clear that they want a ban on the use of ALL phthalates in certain soft PVC toys and childcare articles and would not accept a migration-based approach.

February 1999. The Finnish Trade and Industry Minister notified the European Commission of a ban on six phthalates in concentrations above 0,05% in toys and childcare articles intended for oral use for children under three. The scope of the proposed ban in limited (only six phthalates, only for toys intended for oral use) compared to a 1984 ban on all phthalates in teethers, which was dropped when Finland joined the EU.

March 9 1999. The Italian Minister of Industry announced a ban on PVC Toys containing phthalates. The ban will take effect three months from now in order to give the EU Commission time to raise objections.

March 16 1999. All 20 EU Commissioners step down in a scandal about internal corruption. The proposal for an emergency ban is dropped as it is a controversial decision that would have to be taken by vote.

April 1 1999. The Danish ban is finalised.

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May 4 1999. The European Parliament agrees a resolution on consumer policy which requests a ban of soft PVC toys for children under three containing phthalates, joining 9 EU countries which are either working on national bans and/or support EU wide bans.

July 1 1999. Norway's ban takes effect.

July 7 1999. The French Ministry of Economics, Finances and Industry suspended the production, import, export and the marketing of soft PVC toys intended to be put into the mouth by children under three, in particular teething rings, rattles and dummies, for one year as of today. The ban covers toys containing DINP, DIDP, DEHP, DBP, DNOP, BBP. Toys on the market have to be withdrawn and the costs of this have to be borne by those who put them on the market.

July 1999. Germany proposes a law, banning the use of phthalates in any toy designed to be used by a child under 36 months. It has been submitted to the EU and is now subject to a three-month standstill period while any objections from other member states are considered. A Health Ministry spokesperson said officials had not been swayed by recent British and Dutch studies validating test methods for establishing "safe limits" for the migration of phthalates from plastic items into saliva.

August 1 1999. Sweden's ban takes effect.

September 1999. The Greek ban on sales of soft PVC toys becomes effective.

September 2-3 1999 - Before a hearing of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, the new EU Commissioner of Consumer Protection and Health, David Byrne made the following statement on PVC toys: " This is a very important question and I am very pleased that you ask it. I am convinced that phthalates pose serious risks in certain toys. I will work for an amendment of the general product safety directive. I had detailed discussions with the directorate general and noted the concern that there has been no better success so far. 8 Member States have taken action so far, which shows that there is strong evidence about the dangers. The issue has been dealt with at high level before and I am determined to have a second bite at the cherry."

September 7 1999. A deposition was made to the French courts by the French chemical industries association (UIC) in a bid to overturn the Governments ban on soft PVC childcare items on the grounds that no evidence of adverse health effects had been found in humans.

September 30 1999. The European Scientific Committee (CSTEE) published two opinions which stated that the two leaching tests developed in the Netherlands and in the UK are not suitable for regulatory purposes due to their poor reproducibility, and that the setting up of an ISO ring test would be a "waste of resources" . Secondly, the CSTEE concluded that the use of the phthalate substitutes that were examined (citrates and adipates) cannot be supported. learned. The committee's findings re-open the possibility that the Commission may now propose an EU-wide ban on phthalates in PVC toys designed to be sucked or chewed by babies. The European Commission also said that EU governments may continue to ban toys containing phthalates as there is still no conclusive evidence it is unsafe for children.

10 November 1999 - The European Commission agreed on a proposal for both an emergency and a permanent ban of soft PVC teething toys for children under three years old. Both ban proposals would only cover the toys intended to be put into the mouth. All toys that are not meant for teething but are likely to end up in a child's mouth would merely be labelled 'to be kept out of mouth', a measure which could take 3-4 years to take effect. In addition, no immediate market withdrawal of the banned toys is foreseen in the EU Commission proposal. The EU Commission will also ask the Scientific Committee of Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment whether the ban should cover all toys for children under three

Chicco (also phasing out soft PVC for children under three)
Little Tikes (also phasing out soft PVC for direct to mouth products)
Mattel (Fisher-Price ARCOTOYS, Tyco Preschool)
Safety 1st
The First Years
Sassy (is also phasing out PVC in teething toys)
Shelcore Toys
Hasbro (incl. Playskool) Warner Brothers Studio Stores

The following US retailers have removed phthalate-containing teethers, rattles, pacifiers, and bottle nipples from store shelves:


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RANKINGS of TOY MANUFACTURERS: Who uses PVC, who's giving it up, who's not talking -

5 STARS: Excellent, goal is to phase out all PVC products

4 STARS: Above average – will phaseout some PVC products

3 STARS: Average – will eliminate phthalates in toys for children under 3

2 STARS: Below average – will eliminate phthalates only in toys intended for the mouth

X: Fail, no policy change or company refused to provide information



Ambitoys *****                 phaseout completed 11/98

Aprica Kassai *****         eliminated PVC 11/98

Babelito *****                     stopped production, import and sale
Argentina                                 of soft PVC

Continua *****                 now labels toys PVC-free

Early Start *****             no PVC is used; soft plastic is EVA

Educa Sallent, S.A. ***** pledged to not use PVC, products are
Spain                                     100% PVC-free

Fashy *****                        now labels toys PVC-free

FUSTA *****                     association representing 13 manufacturers
Spain                                     that have pledged to not use PVC

Garbep, S.A. - Lanco ***** pledged to not use PVC 12/98

Giochi Preziosi *****         products in 1998 catalogue were PVC-free

Grazioli *****                        eliminated PVC in toys, 11/98

Helly *****                            now labels toys PVC-free

Kiko Internacional, S.A. ***** pledged to phaseout PVC 12/98

Lego Group *****                     PVC phaseout began in 1986, only
Denmark                                         components of Lego Scala remain

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Little Tikes *****                     all PVC to be eliminated

Mapa *****                                 now labels toys PVC-free

Novatex *****                             now labels toys PVC-free

Pilot Ink Co. Ltd. *****            policy to phaseout PVC in products and packaging

Playmobil *****                         eliminated PVC in 1992

Primetime Playthings *****   no PVC used

Ravensburger *****                 PVC eliminated in 1997, including packaging

Richfield Co. Ltd *****             has PVC phaseout policy; now labels toys PVC-free

Sassy Products *****                 mouth toys to be PVC-free by March 1999,
USA                                                 the rest of the products by the end of June

Tolico *****                                 has a PVC avoidance policy and does not
Denmark                                         sell PVC toys for children under 3, no PVC

Turner Toys *****                     no PVC products used


A-One ****                                 stopped using PVC in products for children
Japan                                             under 3

Artbaby ****                             stopped sale of PVC products June
Argentina                                     1998 until government gives final opinion

Chicco ****                             substitution completed in 1998 for toys for
(Artsana and Prenatal)             under 3 year olds that can be mouthed

The First Years ****             eliminated PVC in mouth toys in 1999

Juguetes Herrajes Joal, S.A. **** only a few PVC products left, new
Spain                                                 PVC-free products released

Lamaze Infant Development **** by end of 1999, all PVC products for children
USA                                                 under 3 will be eliminated

People Co. Ltd. ****                     no PVC will be used in products for children
Japan                                                 under 18 months

Play by Play Noveities ****        eliminated PVC toys for children under 3

Riko ****                                         policy to minimize PVC; products
                                         (Richard Kohnstam Ltd) are aimed at older children

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Toho Co. Ltd. ****                         stopped production of PVC toys for children
Japan                                                  under 3

Young Epoch Co. Ltd ****         PVC will be eliminated by 2000 for products
                                         Japan designed for children under 3


Brio ***                                         does not produce teethers or rattles from PVC
Sweden                                             but continues to use it for a few other products

Mattel (Fisher-Price, Tyco, Arco) *** announced plans to eliminate phthalates in
USA                                                     toys intended for the mouth, eliminated
                                            all PVC packaging in Scandanavia in 1999

Ritvik (Mega Bloks) ***                 baby soft blocks still PVC, researching phthalate

                                                              Canada free products


Disney **                                            agreed to eliminate phthalates in teethers and
USA                                                      rattles in early 1999

Early Learning Centre **                from early 1999, teethers will be phthalate-free

Evenflo **                                             agreed to eliminate phthalates in teethers and rattles
USA                                                        by early 1999

Gerber **                                             agreed to eliminated phthalates from PVC toys
USA                                                       and baby care products

Hasbro (Playskool, Galoob) **         agreed to eliminate phthalates in teething toys

Kids II **                                               agreed to eliminate phthalates in mouth toys

Safety First **                                     agreed to eliminate phthalates in teethers

Shelcore Toys **                                 agreed to eliminate phthalates in teethers and rattles
USA                                                        by early 1999

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Agatsuma X                                         refused to provide information

Ampa Hispania S.A. X                       continued use of PVC

Ars Edition X                                     still marketing PVC books

Babin Iberica S.A. X                         continued use of PVC

Bandai X                                             refused to provide information

Combi Corporation X                     continued use of PVC

Juguetes Font S.L. X                     continued use of PVC

Kawada Co. Ltd. X                         continued use of PVC

Pestalozzi Verlag X                     still marketing PVC books

Royal X                                           refused to provide information

Sega Toys X                                 refused to provide information

Takara Co. Ltd. X                     refused to provide information

Tomy Co. Ltd. X                         refused to provide information

Wimmer-Ferguson X             continued use of PVC

Warner Brothers X                 continued use of PVC

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