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Saying no to phthalate DEHP

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Breast Cancer UK, 5 pledges, manifesto, chemicals, environmental pollutionWe need to reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals, to stop breast cancer before it starts.

Breast Cancer UK has added its voice to a call by the European Environmental Bureau and 54 other human health and environment public interest groups, including doctors, green chemical producers, and health and environmental organisations, for the Commission to reject the continued use of the phthalate, DEHP.

Few of us realise that a key risk factor for breast cancer is our daily exposure to some of the synthetic and man-made chemicals that are found in our environment, food and everyday products.

We need to reduce our exposure to these harmful chemicals to stop breast cancer before it starts.

And breast cancer rates are rising rapidly.

Today, as many as 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

In England, incidence rates have increased amongst women by 90 per cent and amongst men by as much as 60 per cent in just one generation.

The root causes of breast cancer need to be tackled so that these rates reduce.

A letter delivered to the Commission explained why the organisations oppose the continued use of plasticiser, DEHP, in PVC plastic.

They point out that:

DEHP is a substance of very high concern. It is a highly toxic and hormonally active substance;

If the Commission were to grant authorisation for the continued use of DEHP in a wide range of PVC products and in recycled PVC plastic, it would fail to the protect public health and the environment, the main objective of the EU’s chemicals regulation (REACH);

DEHP is widely used, so there is ongoing exposure; and

Safer alternatives to DEHP are generally available;

Many phthalates have already been banned in certain applications, such as toys. And as an acknowledged toxicant, Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate DEHP is due for phase out in 2015.

However, six European companies are requesting permission to continue using it, which would prolong European citizens’ exposure.

After a flawed review process, including inadequate assessment of the benefits and risks of the wide use of the substance of very high concern and key documents not being made public, the Euro­pean Chemicals Agency recommended DEHP’s continued use be approved.

The final decision lies with the European Commission – and it must decide by early 2015.

Lynn Ladbrook, chief exective of Breast Cancer UK said: “We support calls for the Commission reject the continued use of DEHP in PVC.

“To allow it would not only undermine the aims of the REACH system, but raise questions as to whether that system can adequately protect the health of EU citizens and the environment from exposure to hazardous chemicals.”

The read the letter, click here.

To read the civil society organisations’ position statement click here.

Breast Cancer UK wants the next government to stop breast cancer before it starts by making these 5 pledges for prevention, along with associated policy measures, to improve public health, protect future generations and save lives.

These pledges are to:

Prioritise the primary prevention of breast cancer;

Improve the regulation of chemicals;

Protect the unborn child by offering advice to pregnant and breast feeding women;

Ban the use of Bisphenol A in food and drinks packaging; and

Improve labelling laws and implement our ‘right to know’ about harmful chemicals.

Write to your political representative today and ask them to pledge their support for our Manifesto.

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