Photo of child in sea to illustrate story saying Legal challenge launched as toxic plasticiser DEHP approved following bungled procedure

Legal challenge launched as toxic plasticiser DEHP approved following bungled procedure

A legal challenge has been filed after a hormone-harming chemical was authorised in recycled plastics for another four years by the European Commission.

ClientEarth is calling on the Commission to review its decision to let three companies use DEHP in plastics recycling. The Commission now has 12 weeks to reply. If its response is unsatisfactory, ClientEarth will take the case to the European Court of Justice.

ClientEarth Brussels-based chemicals lawyer, Alice Bernard, said: “The application to use this chemical was deeply flawed, but the Commission approved it anyway. This sets a terrible precedent and makes the authorisation process – our first line of defence against toxics – meaningless.”

DEHP is an endocrine disruptor that causes decreased fertility and developmental problems in children. It is used in a huge range of products including shoes, clothes and cars, meaning millions of people are at risk. Not to mention plastics industry workers, who are exposed to it every day.

ClientEarth’s request for review says that in approving DEHP, the Commission:

  • Illegally accepted an application missing key information required by law;
  • Illegally authorised DEHP even though the companies did not prove the benefits outweighed the risks;
  • Illegally ignored proof that safer alternatives were economically and technologically feasible;
  • Violated the precautionary principle; and
  • Misused its power.

The three companies granted permission to use DEHP in plastic recycling are VinyLoop Ferrera, Stena Recycling and Plastic Planet.

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