French chemical firms contest phthalate ban

Court application made to in bid to overturn prohibition of softeners in PVC childcare items

The French chemical industries association (UIC) has mounted a legal challenge to a ban on soft PVC childcare items announced by the French government earlier this year (ENDS Daily 7 July). The ban takes the form of temporary controls on the production and sales of six phthalate plasticisers, which the government plans to make permanent through a forthcoming decree. An official from the UIC told ENDS Daily today that a deposition had been made to French courts on 7 September in a bid to overturn the ban on the grounds that no evidence of adverse health effects had been found in humans. In support of their case, she said, the UIC had referred to a statement by the then health minister Bernard Kouchner when announcing the ban that studies had produced "no precise data to confirm [hepatic toxicity] in humans." Moreover, she said, the minister had acknowledged that exposure of children to the phthalates was "lower than doses which produce an observable effect in animals." Instead of banning phthalates, the spokesperson said, the UIC was urging the French government to adopt the same position as the British and Dutch governments, which have instead supported the setting of maximum migration levels from the products into saliva (ENDS Daily 16 June).

Follow Up:
UIC, tel: +33 1 46 53 11 08.

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