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EU Commission plans to restrict phthalates

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The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to restrict the phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP under the revised EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS2) in electrical and electronic equipment (CW 7 February 2014).

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Chemical Exposures and Health Care Costs

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A new economic analysis has concluded that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion U.S.) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

A total of four papers were published (overview, neurobehavioralmale reproduction and obesity & diabetes) that focused on specific health conditions that can partly be attributed to endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure. These included infertility and male reproductive dysfunction, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurobehavioural and learning disorders. A team of eighteen researchers from eight countries led by Leonardo Trasande, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine & Population Health at NYU Medical Center, were involved in this landmark initiative.

EDCs interfere with numerous hormone functions and are commonly found in thousands of household products including plastics made with vinyl, electronics, pesticides, and cosmetics.

The overview paper concluded that “EDC exposures in the EU are likely to contribute substantially to disease and dysfunction across the life course with costs in the hundreds of billions per year. These estimates represent only those EDCs with the highest probability of causation; a broader analysis would have produced greater estimates of burden of disease and costs.”

The papers were prepared in conjunction with an evaluation being done by the EU Commission of the economic impact to industry of regulating EDCs in Europe. According to the authors, “Our goal here is to estimate the health and economic benefit of regulating EDCs in Europe, based on current evidence.”

The expert panels put together for this analysis “achieved consensus for probable (20%) EDC causation for IQ loss and associated intellectual disability, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, childhood obesity, adult obesity, adult diabetes, cryptorchidism, male infertility, and mortality associated with reduced T.”

“The analysis demonstrates just how staggering the cost of widespread endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure is to society,” said Leonardo Trasande, the lead author in a press statement released by the Endocrine Society. “This research crystalizes more than three decades of lab and population-based studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the EU.”

The press release goes on to say:

In the EU, researchers found the biggest cost driver was loss of IQ and intellectual disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to pesticides containing organophosphates. The study estimated the harm done to unborn children costs society between €46.8 billion and €195 billion a year. About 13 million lost IQ points and 59,300 additional cases of intellectual disability per year can be attributed to organophosphate exposure.

“Adult obesity linked to phthalate exposure generated the second-highest total, with estimated costs of €15.6 billion a year.

“Our findings show that limiting exposure to the most common and hazardous endocrine-disrupting chemicals is likely to yield significant economic benefits,” said one of the study’s authors, Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “This approach has the potential to inform decision-making in the environmental health arena. We are hoping to bring the latest endocrine science to the attention of policymakers as they weigh how to regulate these toxic chemicals.”

The impact of this paper is staggering. It should be a “wake up call” said Linda Birnbaum, Director of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences when asked about the results. It also provides more evidence that low level exposure to chemicals found in everyday household products is affecting the health of many people not just in the Europe, but worldwide.

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Global Polyvinyl Chloride Market Size, Market Share Competitive Scenario And Forecasts, 2012 To 2020

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The global polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market is expected to register considerable growth owing to increasing demand for rigid PVC in applications such as tubes, pipes and fittings. Increasing construction spending in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India is expected to fuel the market growth over the forecast period. Increasing application of PVC in automotive and medical devices may positively impact the market over the next six years. PVC is widely used to manufacture pipes, wires, sheets, films, cables and bottles which find application in various end-use industries such as building & construction, electrical & electronics, transportation and packaging. 

Over the last few years, the market has witnessed downturn in demand owing global recession of 2009 which impacted the growth of critical industries such as construction, transportation and electronics. Furthermore, the global recession had an impact on the prices of PVC which faltered due to low demand in major markets such as North America and Europe. Recovery of end-use industries in North America and Europe is expected have a positive impact on the market. Civil unrest in Middle East has hindered the crude oil prices which adversely affected feedstock prices. Fluctuating raw material prices have resulted in volatility in PVC prices. Rising environmental concerns regarding presence of phthalate plasticizers and low degradation rate of PVC pose threat to the market. However, increasing R&D for development of bio-based PVC is expected to hold opportunities for market participants. 

For more information please click on: 
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mztazv8/global_polyvinyl_chloride

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Global PVC Floor Industry Report 2014

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The report provides a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The PVC floor market analysis is provided for the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and key regions development status.

Development policies and plans are also discussed and manufacturing processes and cost structures analyzed. PVC floor industry import/export consumption, supply and demand figures and cost price and production value gross margins are also provided. Get the full report here.

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mcwhitn/global_pvc_floor_industry_report_2014

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European Union to Allow Ongoing use of DEHP

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When it comes to green policies, toxic chemical law, and pretty much every other environmentally related topic, Europe is light years ahead of the United States. The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of sustainable and environmentally friendly policies. However, that record now stands to be blemished by a poor decision regarding the use of a family of chemicals called phthalates.

EU Parliament Building

Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid that are used as plasticizers mainly in PVC plastics (Type 3), increasing their flexibility, transparency and durability. These chemicals have been associated with several health complications including breast cancer and hormone imbalances. As a result, the use of six particular phthalates, DEHP; BBP; DBP; DINP; DIDP; and DNOP, has been restricted to 0.01% by weight in children’s toys both in Europe and in the US.

However, the EU went a step further and during the past few years contemplated the complete phase-out of BBP, DEHP, DIBP and DBP, four of the most common phthalates in use, from every product on their market. This effort was led mainly by Danish Environmental Protection Agency and Swedish Chemicals Agency. Their efforts led to the EU to task the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to evaluate phthalates (among other chemicals) and create a final recommendation on whether or not to enact a complete market ban on phthalates in consumer products. Large European plastic companies, such as Arkema (France), ZAK (Poland) and Deza (Czech Republic), replied with ferocious intensity – demanding that ECHA maintains the status quo. This political battle has intensified in the past months.

Now, the EU set a deadline of February 21 for it’s final ruling on the four phthalates. Two of them, BBP and DIBP, received relatively little backing from the industry and will be phased out completely by the February date. However, DEHP was defended staunchly and the industry pressured ECHA to recommend the continued authorization of DEHP. The proposal by ECHA is to grant certain manufacturers four years for ongoing use of DEHP in PVC production and twelve years for ongoing recycling of PVC.

The final decision on whether or not DEHP will be banned now rests with the European Commission (EC) who has 3 months to take a position. Environmental NGO’s and certain government agencies are working hard to convince the EC to see ECHA’s recommendation as completely not objective and as the result of pressure from the plastic industry. The EU has historically made the right decision when special interests conflicted with the public’s safety. Let’s hope they maintain their good record.

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Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – 2014 Global Strategic Business Report

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Global market for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is poised to grow at a steady pace driven by improving global economic climate and increased demand for strong, durable and lightweight materials in industries such as electrical, construction, packaging, and automotive. 

The construction industry will continue to be the largest end-use market for PVC, backed by large scale urbanization and increased government focus on developing public infrastructure such as transportation, communication, power, water, and sewage, in emerging countries such as China and India. Urbanization and consumerism are mega growth drivers fuelling PVC consumption in developing countries. With urbanization rate in China still below 50%, the domestic construction sector is a major demand repository for PVC in Asia. 

For more information please click on: 
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/m76iaox/polyvinyl_chloride_pvc_global

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Residents Sue National Pipe (PVC) NY

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Nearly 50 Endicott, NY residents have banded together in a lawsuit filed last week against National Pipe & Plastics, accusing the manufacturer of having “devastated the neighborhood” where it opened a new plant earlier this year.  The lawsuit claims noise and odors wafting from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe manufacturing plant at 15 Mills Ave. have created an “ongoing public nuisance” to residents of the West Endicott neighborhood.

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Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

EPA Adds 23 Chemicals, Including BPA, to Key List for Scrutiny, Possible Action

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On October 23rd, the EPA added 23 chemicals, including BPA, seven phthalates and two flame retardants to a key list of chemicals that may be subject to stricter regulation.

Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

The chemicals on this list all have properties that make them particularly hazardous, whether they are used in children’s products, have been linked to cancer, or are particularly environmentally persistent.

The EPA also removed 15 chemicals from the list.

Read the full story at Bloomberg News.

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Global PVC Market 2014-2018

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Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used plastics across the world. Properties such as lightweight, high mechanical strength, abrasion resistance, and toughness make PVC a widely used material in the Construction, Packaging, Automotive, and Electrical industries.

PVC is widely used in consumer products and building. Image from iplasticsupply.com


PVC is extensively used in many products, such as pipes and fittings, rigid films, rigid plates, cables and wires, flooring, automotive parts, and packaging. It has an excellent cost to performance ratio, and hence, it is very popular among all consumer segments.

For more information please click on:  http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mw88f4j/global_pvc_market_20142018

Photo by Ashley L. Conti | Bangor Daily News

Chemical safety advocacy group protests against LePage in Bangor

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Photo by Ashley L. Conti | Bangor Daily News

A 25-foot-long yellow inflatable duck has been drawing attention to chemical regulation in Bangor, Maine. The “Fear the Beard” campaign was launched by members of Prevent Harm, a public health political advocacy group, to protest against Governor Paul LePage’s history of lax chemical regulation. The name of the campaign stems from LePage’s comments in 2011 that the worst possible impacts from BPA would be that some women “may have little beards” – a reference to the chemical’s endocrine-disrupting properties, which may cause effects ranging from cancer to infertility.


“We’re out here today with our little beards [on sticks] to make sure that our next governor will put Maine kids ahead of the chemical industry, not the other way around,” Emma Halas-O’Connor, Prevent Harm advocacy manager, said.

Read more from Nok-Noi Ricker at Bangor Daily News.