The European phthalates industry has decided not to sue the European Commission over its ban on phthalates in PVC toys. The European Council for Plasticizers and Intermediates announced Feb. 7 it was holding off suing "for the present time" because European officials are now interested in taking another look at migration testing methods.
The EC in December banned phthalates, in part because no one had been able to develop tests to reliably measure how much phthalate comes out when children chew on toys.
But ECPI said European Union President Romano Prodi sent ECPI a letter saying that migration methods should be pursued.
"Subsequent discussions with the Commission have led us to believe that there is indeed a commitment to find an eventual solution based upon the use of sound science and a safe migration limit," ECPI Chairman Jerker Olsson said in a statement. "Of course, should the legislative situation change this decision will be reviewed."
Tim Edgar, spokesman for the Brussels, Belgium-based ECPI, said he was not sure if ECPI officials would release Prodi's letter because talks are continuing.
An EC spokeswoman said the EC plans to renew the phthalate ban when it expires in March.
"We do appreciate that industry has expressed that they are not going to sue us," she said.
A Greenpeace spokesman said he was not surprised by the ECPI statement because he said political support is growing in European countries for phthalate bans in toys.
Portugal recently became the ninth European country to either consider a ban or take action, said Axel Singhofen, toxics adviser in Greenpeace's Brussels office.
"They just know they have no chance in front of the courts," Singhofen said.
ECPI officials declined to talk about legal strategy, but, in news releases, said EC science advisers said a ban was not justified.