DINP Plasticizer Gets Booted Out in California
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the State of California’s Environmental Protection Agency, which decides which chemicals need to be labeled as a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65, has announced that DINP (diisononylphthalate) is now included on the list. DINP and DIDP (diisodylphthalate) are not classified as hazardous by the U.S.
Lilli Manolis Sherman
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the State of California’s Environmental Protection Agency, which decides which chemicals need to be labeled as a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65, has announced that DINP (diisononylphthalate) is now included on the list.
DINP and DIDP (diisodylphthalate) are not classified as hazardous by the U.S. EPA and have been increasingly replacing DEHP di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, which has been the dominant plasticizer in flexible PVC due to its efficiency and low cost. Referred to as “high phthalates”, DINP and DIDP have higher molecular weights (418.61 g/mol and 446.66 g/mol, respectively) and have shown less toxicity in animal studies than their lower molecular weight counterparts like DEHP (390.56 g/mol). They are commonly used in PVC products ranging from wire & cable, flooring, wall covering, self-adhesive films, synthetic leather and coated fabrics to roofing and automotive and medical device applications.
Reacting immediately to California’s move on December 9, was the American Council on Science & Health (ACSH), a non-profit consumer consortium founded in 1978 by a group of scientists who had become concerned that many important public policies related to health and the environment did not have a sound scientific basis (acsh.org). ACSH has maintained all along that there is no substantial evidence that any of the phthalate chemicals, at current environmental exposures, pose a threat to the health of anyone. ACSH’s most recent general survey of the evidence was published in the peer-reviewed publication, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Subsequent reviews have continued to show that allegations of toxicity emanating from anti-chemical activists and their academic colleagues are unsupported by solid evidence.
ACSH executive director and medical director Dr. Gilbert Ross put it this way: “It’s a shame when precautionary approaches based on minimal or no science trump scientific evidence and drag yet another useful chemical down the Prop 65 drainpipe. And what less-studied, more expensive and less versatile products will replace it? When will it stop?”
As recently as 2010, DEHP accounted for 54% of total consumption of plasticizers worldwide. Still, the move away from DEHP globally has been escalating both here and in the EU with alternative phthalates and non-phthalate alternatives gaining ground. Globally, DINP and DIDP represent about 30% of total consumption of plasticizers. Both are subject to restriction in mouthable PVC toys in the EU since 2007.