France first EU country to ban the use of DEHP in paediatrics, neonatology and maternity wards in hospitals

By Anja Leetz
Published Decmber 13, 2012
Health Care Without Harm Europe

Brussels — Today France passed a law that for the first time bans the use of tubes containing di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in paediatrics, neonatology and maternity wards in hospitals.

The ban will come into effect on 1st July 2015, but the law also foresees the possibility, in the near future, to prohibit the use of three phthalates: di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) in all medical devices if alternative materials are available and the safety of the device is guaranteed. This is an important first step towards the phase out of phthalates in all medical devices in Europe. At the time when the European Parliament and Council are getting ready to debate new European Commission’s (EC) proposals that revise the Medical Device Directives, the French ban will put strong pressure on the European institutions to do the same. The current EC proposal for a Regulation on Medical Devices only requires that phthalates are labelled, either on the sales package or on the device itself, meaning that health professionals and patients might not be aware that devices used for treating diseases contain phthalates.

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften PVC. Therefore, they are abundant in PVC- based medical devices such as blood bags, intravenous bags, tubes, catheters and disposable gloves, primarily in the form of the phthalate di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). There are strong indications that phthalates are endocrine disruptors (EDs), and EDs in general interfere with the hormone systems of living creatures, which is potentially very damaging, as our hormones control many biological functions, including reproduction and metabolism.

Continue reading complete press release from Health Care Without Harm Europe