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A Toxics-Free Future

Indian government must address EDCs, says NGO

Chemical Watch

Indian government must address EDCs, says NGO
Toxics Link urges more research into BPA and phthalates
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) “have not received adequate attention at the policy level” in India, Piyush Mohapatra of NGO Toxics Link has said.

A better understanding of the health and environmental impacts of EDCs, "such as bisphenol A and phthalates", in India and South Asia should be a priority, he added.

A conference organised by Toxics Link in India, earlier this month, gathered together representatives from the environment, health and chemical ministries, industry, international experts and NGOs. Mr Mohapatra said the conference had helped the ministries understand the actions that need to be taken.

Some regulations to phase out the use of BPA in baby feeding bottles in India have been drafted, but not finalised, Mr Mohapatra said.

Phthalates and triclosan are not banned in India. But the Bureau of Indian Standards has restricted the following phthalates in cosmetic raw materials:

dibutyl phthalate (DBP);
di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP);
bis(2-Methoxyethyl) phthalate;
isopentyl phthalate; and
benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).
These are listed as substances of very high concern (SVHC) in the EU, and included in the candidate list for authorisation.

In India, triclosan is restricted in preservatives used in cosmetic raw ingredients. The maximum permissible content is 0.3%.

Toxics Link is also looking at the impact of EDCs in neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Mr Mohapatra said a lack of capacity was contributing to slow development in these countries. This includes too few research establishments, laboratories and manufacturing units.

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm) considers EDCs an “emerging policy issue”. While many countries are taking action to mitigate their dangers, the issue is “not in the public domain in India, and there is very little information and data available”, Mr Mohapatra said.

International scientific organisation, the Endocrine Society, says evidence that some chemicals disrupt hormones and cause a range of serious health problems has become more compelling.

In September last year, the organisation published a review of evidence that concludes exposure to chemicals, such as BPA, phthalates, flame retardants and pesticides, is associated with a range of diseases.

Charlotte Niemiec