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Migration of phthalates from PVC toys into saliva simulant by dynamic extraction

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Soft PVC children's products are usually plasticized with phthalates. As young children suck and chew on toys, they extract and ingest certain quantities of the plasticizers. Some phthalates are suspected to affect the kidneys and liver and cause testicular damage. Therefore, the EC has prohibited the sale of toys and childcare articles intended to be placed in the mouth by children <3 years of age made of soft PVC containing >0.1% by weight of six phthalates (1999/815/EC). The aim was to study the materials and plasticizers used in soft children's products. In February 2001, a market surveillance was performed in The Netherlands and 62 soft toys were sampled. Forty-seven of these toys contained plasticized PVC. Diisononylphthalate (DINP) and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) were the predominant plasticizers and were usually found in concentrations between 30 and 45% by weight. One teething ring was made of PVC plasticized with 45% by weight of DINP and was not in compliance with Decision 1999/815/EC. The DINP and DEHP migration was determined in saliva simulant using the 'Head over Heels' agitation method. All toys complied with the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE) guidance release value of 6.7 g min-1 10 cm-2. The DEHP migration of six toys exceeded the SCTEE guidance release value of 1.7 g min-1 10 cm-2. Substitutes found for phthalates plasticizers are acetyltributylcitrate, tributylcitrate and diisononyladipate. In addition, other plasticizers and additives were found in minor amounts. The toxicity and the migration behaviour of these substances is less known and requires more attention. To ensure the safety of PVC toys, these substances should also be regulated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Inspectorate for Health Protection and Veterinary Public Health, PO Box 465, 9700 AL Groningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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