French harden laws against plasticizer DEHP

Last December, the French senate passed a law that would become effective in July of 2015 banning the use of tubes containing diethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP) from pediatric, neonatal and maternity wards. The ban may be challenged by the European Food and Safety Authority if they find that it is not scientifically warranted.

DEHP is used in blood bags, intravenous tubes and other medical devices in order to soften their plastic constituents. It has come under attack in the past from environmental groups who claim that DEHP is an endocrine disruptor that has the potential to cause damage to the male reproductive tract; however, this criticism is often not backed by scientific justification. Furthermore, this PVC-DEHP combination has been used in blood bags for the past 50 years and has proven very effective in minimizing the rupturing of red blood cells.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says that DEHP is perhaps the most important medical phthalate, giving IV bags and tubes of all types flexibility and durability. The data showing it is harmful is based on high dose studies using rodents, as usual. Banning it would have major detrimental effects, be hugely expensive, and who knows what the substitute plasticizer would be? ACSH empanelled a group of experts in various fields in 2000 to evaluate two phthalates, one of which was DEHP. We found no evidence of significant toxicity then, and nothing of significance has been found to refute that over the past decade.