'Environmental hormones' to be banned in toys
By Yun Suh-young
From the next year, the use of four chemicals that are hormone disrupters will be banned in the manufacturing of toys and products for children.
According to the Ministry of Environment Wednesday, the four were found to disrupt the human endocrine system and the ban will go into effect in September.
They are nonylphenol, tributyltin (TBT), di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP).
The four are among 67 chemicals listed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), sometimes erroneously called “environmental hormones,” that alter the functions of hormones if they enter the body, delaying growth and causing deformity. The chemicals may affect brain development in infants and children.
“Other countries have started regulating the use of these hazardous materials a few years ago,” said an official from the ministry. “Because children have more difficulty discharging the harmful substances and the damage caused can be delayed, we decided to implement the ban.”
No more than 0.1 percent concentration of nonylphenol is allowed in children’s products. The same applies to TBT in the production of wooden furniture.
Phthalate substances such as DNOP and DINP are also restricted from use if the dose of concentration exceeds the allowable limit. The substance is used as a plasticizer, softening plastic.
Children are especially vulnerable to endocrine disruptors through toys because they often put them in their mouth.
The new rule will ensure the safety of children as the restricted substances are those most commonly used in producing toys.
The ministry said it will expand the number of substances it will regulate after conducting tests on 135 other hazardous chemical compounds.