The French chemical industries association, UIC, finds it incomprehensible that the French Parliament has adopted a new law prohibiting the use of phthalates, parabens and alkylphenols, at the first reading of the bill.
From a scientific and technical point of view, and also from a regulatory standpoint, it makes no sense to ban an entire group of substances whose individual components possess very different toxic properties, uses and degrees of exposure. Furthermore, this prohibition does not result in any improvements in terms of public health safety, or consumer safety. However, it will have a dramatically negative effect on everyday life.
In terms of what is known from a scientific and technical point of view, the new law is premature because neither INSERM¹ nor ANSES² have yet delivered their final conclusions concerning the risks associated with these endocrine-disrupting substances, and there is no approved conclusion set in European Law.
In terms of hygiene, healthcare and everyday life, phthalates are used mainly to make certain types of plastic more supple (such as pipes, tubing, catheters and blood bags); parabens prevent the spread of pathogenic micro-organisms in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products; and alkylphenol derivatives are used as emulsifiers. At present, technical substitutes do not exist for many of these applications.
UIC believes that this new law represents an excessive degree of precaution, completely disregarding the proper scientific processes and the careful logic applied by the European regulations.
For all these reasons, UIC does not support this initiative which aims to prohibit certain groups of chemical substances in France without the support of a scientific study and or a detailed risk-benefit analysis of each individual substance. UIC insists that such studies are an essential part of the process of ensuring that the law conforms to European standards and regulations on the safety of chemical products.
¹ French national institute for health and medical research.