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05-17-2011

France: A Bill to Ban the Use of Phthalates

The French National Assembly adopted in first reading a bill to ban the use of phthalates, parabens and alkylphenols. The plasticizer Industry, represented by ECPI, the European Council of Plasticizers and Intermediates, deplores the adoption of this bill and is concerned about a potential blanket ban of these substances, especially phthalates.

Phthalates are chemical molecules used primarily to soften PVC to manufacture industrial products and durable consumer goods such as electric cables, roofing membranes, flooring, or synthetic leather. They are a family of very diverse chemical substances with very different applications and substantially different health and environment classification. Moreover, their use is already regulated by the European REACH regulation since 2007.

The plasticizer industry therefore urges that any changes to the legislation applying to phthalates should be based on the current consensus of national and European regulation. In trying to replace the existing EU framework relevant to these complex issues, this bill raises more problems than it provides solutions. It is scientifically unjustified and unworkable in practice. Thus, a general ban of these substances and particularly of phthalates is inappropriate and unsuitable.

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