Hong Kong debates limits on phthalates, consumer group finds high levels in toys

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: November 25, 2013 2:10 pm ET
Updated: November 25, 2013 2:11 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Sustainability, Toys

A consumer watchdog group in Hong Kong said it has found levels of phthalates in plastic toys up to 380 times that allowed in the United States and Europe, releasing its research as the government there considers tougher rules on the chemicals.

Hong Kong’s Consumer Council said in a Nov. 14 study that seven of 27 toys it tested from Hong Kong store shelves had phthalate levels exceeding the standards of the U.S. and the European Union, and it urged the local government to put better protections in place.

Hong Kong’s Legislature is currently considering adopting phthalate restrictions similar to those already in place in the Canada, the European Union, Singapore and the United States.

Putting tougher rules in place “will prevent us from becoming a possible dumping ground for non-compliant products rejected by those jurisdictions,” according to a report issued by Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.

The bureau recommended that the Legislature adopt limits for six phthalates — DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP — at no more than 0.1 percent of the weight of the toys and child care products that can be mouthed or teethed by children up to 48 months old.

“The younger generation in Hong Kong will have the same level of protection from exposure to phthalates as the children in those jurisdictions,” the bureau said.

Hong Kong, a territory of China with significant self-governing powers, does not currently have any regulations limiting phthalates in toys.

The Consumer Council said in its report that in four of the 27 products it tested, phthalates made up between 28.6 percent and 37.9 percent of the product by weight, or between 286 and 379 times that allowed in the United States and Europe.

The seven products with phthalate levels exceeding the 0.1 percent standard were three bathing toys, three inflatable riding toys and an alphabet puzzle board, the council said.

"From a scientific perspective, the danger of phthalates to humans is still up for debate … but it is not too late for Hong Kong to enact stricter regulation," Professor Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee, told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper.

Council officials did not respond to a request for comment, but said that long-term exposure to phthalates can damage the liver and kidney, and it said children are at more risk because of their tendency to chew objects.

The council also said its study did not find any lead or heavy metals in the toys tested, which it said was a “big step forward” for toy safety in Hong Kong.

 


Comments

Hong Kong debates limits on phthalates, consumer group finds high levels in toys

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: November 25, 2013 2:10 pm ET
Updated: November 25, 2013 2:11 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Mexico's Polymer Solutions looks to grow, expand offerings with name change

January 23, 2015 12:03 pm ET

British biodegradable additives developer Symphony Environmental Technologies plc's Mexico distributor has changed its name from Plásticos...    More

Image

Recycling Partnership coalition kicks off its initial curbside project

January 22, 2015 3:51 pm ET

The Recycling Partnership's inaugural effort to boost curbside recycling around the country kicked off this week in Columbia, S.C.    More

Image

ACC's 'Roadmap' gaining traction

January 22, 2015 1:56 pm ET

Nearly a year into the launch of the latest effort to promote greater use of plastics in automotive applications, a trade group behind the push says...    More

Image

Speaker: Designers, materials firms must collaborate in auto lightweighting

January 21, 2015 2:17 pm ET

With aggressive federal automobile mileage standards now just a decade away, Jeffrey Sternberg is convinced that plastics can play an important role...    More

Image

European study finds 'no consumer health risk' from current BPA levels

January 21, 2015 9:45 am ET

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded there is no health risk to consumers of any age group from current exposure levels to bispheno...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events