6 plastic balls notified for content of endocrine disruptors

4. jul 2018

A test of plastic balls for children revealed substances, which are endocrine disrupting and banned in toys. The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has notified 6 of the tested balls to the authorities.

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6 plastic balls notified for content of endocrine disruptors
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Test: Balls contained endocrine disrupting substances

In a test of plastic balls the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has found phthalates in 6 balls.

Phthalates are plastic softeners, and some of them are classified as endocrine disrupting for humans or harmful for reproduction.  A number of the substances are banned in toys.

The 6 balls have been notified to the authorities, and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are considering the next steps.

The test also included 28 balls, which were without the unwanted phthalates.

See all the tested products (link to test in Danish)

Risk: Phthalate levels are high in several plastic balls

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has notified plastic balls to the Danish EPA on earlier occasions.

A red plastic ball was assessed to be illegal by the Danish EPA in 2017. The agency considered the ball to constitute a health risk, since it contained 47.6 percent of the endocrine disrupting phthalate DIBP.

Several balls in the new test from June 2018 contained the same levels of phthalates. See the levels in the tab under the article.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals generally advise you to get rid of toys that are considered to be illegal by the authorities.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals: This is not good enough

“In the test of balls there were many good choices, if you want to avoid phthalates that are illegal in toys. But unfortunately we still see that some companies do not have the chemicals in their products under control. This is in spite of the fact that plastic balls is a product which has been on the market in decades and that the issue regarding phthalates is definitely not a new one. This is not good enough. It calls for more control with toys. We would also like to have a full disclosure of the chemical content in an ingredient lists on the toys.”

Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager and responsible for test, The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency: The balls will be removed from the market if they are illegal

“We have received the reports of 6 balls with phthalates and we will now examine the cases. If the balls turn out to be illegal, then we will take steps to have the balls removed from the market.”

Jane Pedersen, functional manager, The Danish Chemical Inspection under the Danish EPA.

For further questions regarding the test contact project manager Christel Søgaard Kirkeby on csk@fbr.dk.

What the companies say

Chao Chao (responsible for green and pink plastic ball)

The shop says that it will stop the sale of the product

VN Legetøj A/S (responsible for the balls Supercup plastic ball and Football plastic ball)

The company recognizes the tests findings of the phthalate DIBP. But it does not think that the product can be designated as illegal, since the content according to the company was legal at the time of import.

Harald Nyborg (responsible for the ball Gul plastic ball from Harald Nyborg)

The company refers to a test of the same ball from 2017, where the Danish Environmental Protection Agency dismissed the following report. The company also says that it has a test report from its supplier which does not show exceedance of limit value.

Comment from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals: Since the test in 2017 was conducted the limit value for DIBP has been lowered from 5 per cent to 0.3 per cent. The test result from 2017 would not be legal today. The ball has been tested again and this time it has shown significantly higher levels than in the last test.

Tranberg & Dahl A/S (responsible for the ball Guardian football)

The company says that it removes the product from the market and that it will henceforth test for phthalates in its products.

The company says that the ball is intended as a sports equipment and not a toy where different rules apply.

Comment from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals: The Danish Safety Technology Authority has assessed that the Guardian ball is not a toy. Consequently the content of the phthalate DEHP is not illegal at the moment. However, DEHP is confirmed endocrine disrupting in humans and the EU is in 2018 expected to ban the substance in all consumer products in the house hold.  

The 6 reported plastic balls

6 plastic balls are reported to the authorities for content of endocrine disrupting phthalates. The limit value for DIBP in toys is 0.3 percent. For DEHP it is 0.1 percent.

  • Football plastic ball from VN Legetøj - contained 57.7 percent of the phthalate DIBP
  • Green Plastic Ball from Chao Chao – contained 26.8 percent of the phthalate DEHP and 0.5 percent DIBP
  • Yellow plastic ball from Harald Nyborg – contained 57.6 percent of the phthalate DIBP and 0.14 percent DEHP.
  • Pink plastic ball from Chao Chao – contained 15.9 percent of the phthalate DIBP.
  • Super Cup plastic ball from VN Legetøj – contained 37.8 percent of the phthalate DIBP
  • Guardian Football – contained 9 percent of the phthalate DEHP (The Danish Safety Technology Authority has assessed that the Guardian ball is not a toy. Consequently the content of the phthalate DEHP is not illegal at the moment. However, DEHP is confirmed endocrine disrupting in humans and the EU is in 2018 expected to ban the substance in all consumer products in the house hold).

See all the tested products (link to test in Danish)