Scientists sidestep medical phthalates limits

EU medical device committee declines Commission request to recommend safe intake levels

A panel of top EU scientists has rebuffed a European Commission request to recommend safe intake levels for the phthalate DEHP when used in soft PVC medical devices to treat newly born babies. The Scientific committee on medicinal products and medical devices (SCMPMD) declined to list other patient groups potentially at risk from DEHP exposure, citing a lack of research data.

But the committee did make a contribution to the EU debate on risk assessment of DEHP. It said a study favoured by Swedish chemicals agency Kemi as the basis for tough restrictions on DEHP "may not be a suitable basis for the risk assessment of reproductive toxicity in humans". This will boost phthalate producers, which have argued in favour of subsequent research reaching milder conclusions (EED 18/09/02).

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