Children´s rain coats containing toxic phthalates sold in shop Essa in Děčín

12.9.2007 - Ústí nad Labem

A children´s rain coat bought by Arnika in shop Essa, Myslbekova street in Děčín, contained together with its packaging toxic phthalates in high concentrations. Content of toxic phthalate DEHP (1) exceeded 20% of product´s weight and the raincoats should be immediately withdrawn from shops (2). Presence of the hazardous chemicals was discovered by results of analyses in which Arnika ordered testing 6 different products sold in various shops in the Czech Republic. The raincoat was the only of all 6 products bought in the region Ústí nad Labem. Another 5 products were purchased in shops in Prague.

Arnika has informed the Czech Trade Inspection. „We made suggestion to ban a sale of the raincoat and other hazardous products (mucus aspirator and children´s beach shoes). We also called attention of its producer to high concentrations of chemicals in the product,“ said Jopková, head of Arnika´s campaign Do Not Play with PVC. Concentration of phthalates in the tested products between 19,9 % and 35,8 % of product´s weight was found in 4 (see bellow products 1, 3,5 and 6) of 6 tested products (3). In most cases it was phthalate DEHP - di(2-ethylhexy)l phthalate – chemical which is provably reprotoxic, causing congenital malformations (e.g. skeletal and eye defects, defects of the nervous system of embryos), cardiovascular problems and infertility. It also harms the kidneys and liver in which it accumulates,“ explains Jopková.

„Another risky product commonly accessible in any apothecary, is mucus aspirator for nursing children,“ said Kamil Repeš, head of Arnika´s branch in Děčín.

Arnika points on danger of phthalates in connection with the use of PVC. „Phthalates are added to PVC as softeners but during its use they leak from a product and ca easily get for instance to a body when a child is playing with PVC toy or when it uses a product made of PVC,“ Jopková says and gives a simple advice how to avoid such risk: „It is better not to use things made of PVC because users themselves cannot recognize if a toy contains phthalates.“

Reduction of consumption and usage of products made of PVC is one of targets of Arnika´s project which is right now being realized in the region Ústí (4).

The project is supported by grant from Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway within financial mechanism EEC and Norwegian financial mechanism by NROS (Foundation for Development of Civic Society) and co-financed by grants of the Czech Ministry of Environment and the New World Foundation.

(1) Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are used in PVC as softeners (e.g. in medical devices – hoses, blood bags, in soft furnishings (floor-cloth, wallpapers, then in production of plastic raincoats etc.). EU directive 67/548/EEC on classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals classifies DEHP as a substance poisonous to reproductive system. It can cause congenital malformations, cardiovascular problems and can negatively influence functioning of the thyroid gland.

(2) EU adopted directive No. 2005/84 on a limitation of phthalates in toys and children products. Czech legislation reacted to the new EU directive by a notice No. 284/2006 (valid as of 6 January 2007) which bans use of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP) as additives or compounds of products in concentration above 0,1% of weight of softened plastic materials used for production of toys and children´s products. Toys and products for children´s care which contain phataltes in higher concentration than the listed concentration, cannot be placed on market. Product for children´s care means any product helping children fall asleep, products for pacification, hygiene, feeding and sucking.

Review of analysed samples:
Six products containing PVC was tested for a presence of phtalate acid esthers and in some case of 4-nonylphenol:

 

  • 1. Mucus aspirator for nursing children Producer: GAMA GROUP a.s., Bought in Apothecary Husinecká 4, Prague 3
  • 2. Street shoes CHEROKEE Made in China, distributed by Tesco Stores CR, Veselská 663, Praha 9, Bought in TESCO, Shopping Nový Smíchov, Anděl, Prague 5
  • 3. Air circle for swimming Made in China, importer : Altoys cz, Průhonice – Česlice Bought in TESCO, Národní třída, Prague 1. Tested parts: circle and blow-up valve (sucker)
  • 4. Dickey SASSY with detachable coupling, with pictures Made in China, Sassy, INC, bought in Central Pacific Investments, a.s., Prague
  • 5. Plastic rain coat „Funny Frog“ with a packet Made in China, bought in Esse - Myslbekova 1180/1, Děčín, Importer Great wall group s.r.o., Štěrboholská 1404/104, Prague Tested parts – rain coat and packet
  • 6. Yellow beach shoes for children Made in China, bought in DEBENS, Mestra House, Venseslas Square, Prague 1
Product

Content of hazardous phtalates

(% of weight)
Product does comply with regulations
Mucus aspirator for nurse-children 19,9 % DEHP
yes
Street shoes CHEROKEE under detection limit yes
Air circle for swimming - valve
0,014 DBP yes
Air circle for swimming
22,7 DINP yes
Dickey SASSY with detachable coupling 0,006 DBP 0,009 DEHP yes
Rain coat 23,8 DEHP no
Rain coat - packet 20,1 DEHP no
Yellow beach shoes 35,8 DEHP no

(4) You can learn more about the project from press release published by Arnika on 2 August 2007.


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