The European Parliament's approval of the ban of phthalates in toys has had mixed reactions. Consumer organisations and NGOs are relieved while the toy industry points to a "misuse of the precautionary principle". Phthalates are widely used chemicals (clothes, PVC building materials, medical products, cosmetics, toys, child care articles, food packaging). In toys, they are used to soften the PVC plastics certain toys are made of. Phthalates are believed to be harmful to human health, causing damage to the reproductive system and increasing the risks of allergies, asthma and cancer. Phthalates have been temporarily banned since 1990, the ban being regularly renewed. The situation has led to the emergence of different national policies, thereby potentially undermining the functioning of the internal market. Based on the precautionary principle, the Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority (487 in favour, 9 against and 10 abstentions) to ban the use of three and restrict the use of another three chemicals in plastic toys and childcare articles, without age-limitations. "Toxic chemicals have no place in children's toys," commented Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. Under the new directive: three phthalates - DEHP, DBP and BBP - will be banned in all toys and childcare articles; three others - DINP, DIDP and DNOP - will be banned from use in toys and childcare articles for those articles that can be put children's mouths. The Commission will prepare guidelines to facilitate the implementation of these new provisions on the restrictions in toys and childcare articles insofar as they concern the condition "which can be placed in the mouth by children".