Letter: Facts about milk and phthalates

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The Independent Online
Sir: You report that other countries, notably Sweden, Denmark and Germany, are taking precautionary action to phase out PVC. So are many local and regional governments and communities abroad, as well as retailers and businesses. These precautionary steps are being taken because the problems with PVC go well beyond phthalates in baby milk.

Phthalates are found in baby milk (and in biscuits, parmesan cheese, gravy granules, chocolate cakes etc) because they are widespread in the environment and, now, in the food chain. Phthalates are produced almost entirely - 95 per cent according to the chemical industry - for use in PVC. Dioxins, also significant "gender benders" as well as suspected carcinogens, are also produced with PVC. Virtually all PVC can be replaced by PVC-free alternatives already in use. Stop producing and using PVC and 95 per cent of phthalates entering the environment can be stopped.

Obviously, removal of contaminants from baby milk is essential (letter, 29 May), but unfortunately this will not happen while PVC is still being produced.

SARAH J BURTON

Campaign Director, Greenpeace UK

London N1

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