The French National Assembly has voted on the banning of phthalate chemicals, which are used in plastics and paraben preservatives for cosmetic products. The decision to ban phthalate chemicals was based on research showing that they may disrupt the endocrine system. Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in cosmetics formulations that have recently come under inspection as a harmful substance.

According to Cosmeticdesign.Europe: 'Phthalates are chemical compounds used in plastic wrapping, adhesives, paints, and cosmetics products like nail varnishes, hair lacquer and perfume. The problem arises as the plastics break down and get released in the atmosphere, with various tests in the US detecting phthalates in the human bloodstream. The problem here is that they are hormone-disrupting chemicals related to obesity and also act as estrogen-mimicking substances hence affecting male reproductive process. As they are common ingredients in personal care products and plastics applications the French parliament took the decision to investigate their use,'

Because of the controversy surrounding parabens, many of the larger cosmetic companies have voluntarily withdrawn the use of parabens in their products while countries such as Denmark have banned the use of them entirely. Denmark banned the use of parabens in children’s personal care products earlier this year.

However, it is widely accepted within the cosmetic industry that parabens are safe to use. Last year the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) announced stated that parabens are safe to use as cosmetics preservatives although use levels for some of the compounds in the family should be reduced.

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