Environmental Project No 2149, 2020

Survey of unwanted additives in PVC products imported over the internet


A primary goal for this project was to investigate if Danish consumers risk exposure to problematic substances when purchasing PVC products in online stores outside Denmark.

The focus was on the PVC material's content of two types of additives: heat stabilizers added to stabilize the PVC material during the manufacturing process and plasticizers added to adjust the softness of the PVC. The following problematic substances were identified 1) cadmium and lead, which are part of heat stabilizer additives and 2) various phthalate-type plasticizers and chlorinated paraffins (SCCP). A total of lead containing (nine products), cadmium (four products), the phthalate DBP (in one product) and SCCP (5 products) were found in a concentration that prevents them being marketed in the Danish market. A total of 13 products out of 54 products examined (=24%) contained above substances in concentrations which exceeded threshold values for marketing in Denmark Out of these, six products exceeded threshold values in more than one piece of legislation. In addition, 22 out of 41 tested soft PVC products (=54%) contained the phthalates DIBP, DEHP and DBP in concentrations that have been banned under brand new REACH restrictions introduced after the purchase of the products. No systematic differences was found between the above two groups of infringements in relation to whether the product was purchased or produced within the EU (excluding Denmark) versus outside the EU.

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