HSE consults on whether reproductive toxin should be restricted in the UK

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a consultation on its draft recommendation for diisohexyl phthalate, a chemical that may damage fertility, to be banned in the UK.

Diisohexyl phthalate, a phthalate ester that can be used as a plasticiser, is already identified as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) according to Article 57(c) of UK REACH – as grandfathered after Brexit – and is classified in the GB Mandatory Classification and Labelling (MCL) list as toxic for reproduction, under category 1B. 

No registrations have been submitted under the UK chemical regime for this substance to date, according to HSE, however it recommended that the substance be added to Annex 14 of UK REACH – which is the list of substances subject to authorisation, that are to be phased out replaced by less dangerous substances or technologies where feasible alternatives exist.

Although it is not in use, HSE has pointed out that the candidate could potentially be used to replace other plasticizers that are already recommended for or included in Annex 14, so the restriction is to avoid ‘regrettable substitution’. 

HSE proposed not to recommend exemptions for uses of diisohexyl phthalate, but requests would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

The recommendation is based on the results of the European Chemicals Agency’s investigation into the chemical, which submitted a proposal for it to be phased out in the European Commission in April 2023. 

The consultation on the draft recommendation opened on 18 September and will run for three months.