ECHA opts for restriction of carcinogenic flame retardants in childcare articles

23 / 04 / 2018

A screening report, now published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), identified a risk for children from exposure to the organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) TCEP, TCPP and TDCP in flexible polyurethane (PUR) foams in childcare articles and upholstered residential furniture.

The article types used as reference for the screening were baby mattresses, safety seats, baby slings and sofas. The three flame retardants may also be present in other articles such as pushchairs, prams, carry cots, high seats and baby changing mats. A risk for carcinogenicity from exposure to infants was identified for all three OPFRs. TCEP and TCPP were furthermore identified as toxic for reproduction.

ECHA therefore recommends that a so-called restriction dossier is prepared for these 3 chemicals. TCEP was already included in the REACH candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) and its use has required special authorisation since August 2015. It is therefore subject to the consumer┬┤s right to know, as stipulated by REACH Article 33.
TCPP and TDCP however are not, but were included in the screening due to similar properties and uses to TCEP.
This example once again demonstrates  that broadening the scope of risk assessment from single substances to groups of structurally related chemicals is crucial, in order to terminate the regrettable substitution of SVHCs by other substances, which turn out to pose similar risks to health and environment.


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