Yesterday, the California Environmental Protection Agency s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the mega-brains deciding on which chemicals need to be labeled under Proposition 65 s dictum, known to the State of California to be a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant, announced that the phthalate DINP (diisononylphthalate) would be included on the list. While this comes as a disappointment, it is, sadly, no surprise.
As we here at ACSH have noted, often, there is no substantial evidence that any of the phthalate chemicals, at current environmental exposures, pose a threat to health of anyone. Our 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. This is especially cogent when referring to the so-called high phthalates, which by dint of their higher molecular weight have shown less toxicity in animal studies than their lower-weight congeners.
DINP and related "high phthalates" are commonly used in PVC products such as wire and cable, flooring, wall covering, self-adhesive films, synthetic leather, coated fabrics and roofing and automobile applications. Also in rubber toys for children, such as rubber duckies.
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross uttered this, in frustration and some anger: 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?