Softeners for the little ones

According to a study, Germany's daycare centers have above-average levels of hormonal pollutants. In the approximately 60 examined Kitas the quantity of the plasticizers is three times higher than in usual households, announced the federation for environment and nature protection Germany (BUND) on Tuesday in Berlin.

According to the information, the seven phthalates found can dramatically affect the endocrine system. In addition, the chemicals could cause infertility and increase the risk of breast and testicular cancer.

According to BUND, the reason for the high values is the frequent use of plasticizer products in daycare centers, including PVC floors, gym mats, plastic tablecloths or gymnastic balls. The 60 daycare centers nationwide had volunteered to analyze house dust. Two-thirds measured a higher overall burden than in normal households.

The phthalates DEHP and DINP were most frequently encountered. Not all daycare centers were affected to the same extent. While only 133 mg DEHP/kg were registered in the dust of the lowest-polluted daycare center, the total phthalate value in the highest-polluted daycare center was 21 mg DEHP/kg.700 mg/kg. According to the data, the intake of up to 0.05 mg DEHP per kilogram of body weight is safe. In one case, the value was 0.13. In total, this limit was exceeded in six Kitas.

The Federal Environment Agency generally advises against the use of phthalates in toys. Some of the substances are banned in principle in toys, including DEHP. Children are particularly at risk because their organs have not yet developed sufficiently, they said.

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