The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) investigation found that some substances added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, like plasticisers, may pose risks to people and the environment. To limit the use of these additives and to minimise releases of PVC microparticles, regulatory action would be necessary.
The investigation focused on 63 PVC additives, including plasticisers, heat stabilisers and flame retardants. The key findings suggest that regulatory action would be needed:
to minimise risks associated with plasticisers, particularly certain ortho-phthalates, which are harmful to reproduction;
to minimise risks from heat stabilising organotins, such as DOTE, which may cause developmental malformations and reproductive harm;
to reduce emissions of flame retardants as suggested in ECHA’s Regulatory Strategy for Flame Retardants; and
to implement and improve technologies that minimise PVC microparticle emissions especially at recycling facilities and landfills. The release of PVC microparticles contributes to plastic pollution. These microparticles also contain harmful additives, and therefore, minimising their releases would consequently reduce emissions of these additives.