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A Toxics-Free Future

AWHHE Report: Raising Awareness on Health Hazards of Phthalates in Toys

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In December 2018, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) studied labels of 56 toys in 9 sales points in Arabkir, Nor Nork and Kentron communities in Yerevan.

Although several types of phthalates were banned from use in children’s toys in the US, Canada, the EU and the EEU, these toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can be found in many children’s items, including lunch boxes, waterproof mattress covers, inflatable toys, baby pools, and bath toys. In Armenia, only one phthalate – DIBUTIL PHTHALATE – is prohibited. 

AWHHE studied labels in stores and discovered that toys with the unknown composition are sold on the Armenian market, which can endanger children's health. They studied labels of 56 toys in 9 sales points in Arabkir, Nor Nork and Kentron communities and found out that 91% of the toys have been imported from China. In the case of 78.6% of toys, the names of the substances used in toys are not mentioned in the labels; 43 of the toys (76.8%) out of 56 do not specify the name of the producer or manufacturer; brand name information was missing on 40 toy labels; and the barcode was not indicated on 13 labels.

The study helped raise the issue of phthalates for the first time at a national level. However, a lot needs to be done to implement the SAICM objectives in this area. AWHHE recommends the following next steps:

  • A national awareness-raising campaign about phthalates and alternatives, including among the importers of toys

  • Continuation of efforts to ban the hazardous phthalates (to add to the existing list), certification procedures have to be strictly followed so that the banned/ restricted phthalates, which are not banned/restricted in the country of origin do not enter the national market.

  • Strengthening capacities of the civil society representatives (active citizen groups, NGOs, Internet communities, mass media) to protect the right of consumers to information and to demand disclosure of information on hazardous chemicals by producers (special attention to be paid to the need to have information in national language).

  • Continued experience sharing of the lessons learned by NGOs engaged in similar efforts at the EECCA level.