From EurActiv, Denmark is taking action on an issue with harmful chemicals before the EU deals with the issue. This may mean a difference in Denmark’s chemical legislation/policy and that of the EU.

Danish Environment Minister Ida Auken has decided to ban four industrial chemicals linked to disrupting the human endocrine system, pushing Denmark ahead of the European Union which has already started a process of phasing phthalates.

Auken said she would introduce a ban this autumn on DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP phthalates.

“The EU will look at this in spring, and we know how long it will take before everyone agrees on what to do. It has to go through all the institutions, and then it has to come into force. It can take a really long time so I don’t think that Denmark should wait for that when there are such clear [risk] indications in this area.”

The EU’s 2006 REACH regulation requires chemical manufacturers to register the 100,000 or so substances currently on the market and submit them for safety screening and subsequent authorisation. Those that are considered to pose an unacceptable threat to human health or the environment may be phased out and eventually replaced.

The industry director highlighted that the decisions about phthalates in the EU are based on scientific risk evaluations which the member states’ top scientists have discussed for years. Therefore, in a potential court case, the Danish environment minister would have to argue scientifically against all the member states’ researchers’ conclusions, Hansen said.

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