Late last week, California added diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)–a compound used to make plastics flexible–to the list of known reproductive toxicants regulated under the state statute called Proposition 65. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) typically contains up to 40 percent DEHP. The chemical, which leaches out of PVC products such as blood-storage bags and intravenous tubing, can disrupt the normal development of male reproductive organs in animals (SN: 9/2/00, p. 152: New Concerns about Phthalates).
Manufacturers now have 1 year to label affected products to be sold in California as containing a reproductive poison. Neither the federal government nor any other state has acted against DEHP.
Concerns over DEHP's migration from products and its toxicity prompted a team of engineers led by Jeongsoo Choi of Seoul (Korea) National University to develop a new class of plasticizers based on nontoxic compounds known as epsilon-caprolactone molecul