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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2019
Joint answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the European Commission
Written questions: E-001166/19 , E-001280/19
Question references: E-001166/2019, E-001280/2019

The reports published in 2018 by the French National Agency(1), the Swedish Chemical Agency on feminine hygiene products(2),(3) and in a Danish consumer magazine(4) on menstrual cups did not identify risks of adverse health effects to women due to the presence of identified hazardous chemicals.

France nevertheless recommended the producers to put in place measures to reduce the presence of hazardous substances due to the contamination of raw materials or as a result of the manufacturing process. As pointed out in the Danish report, the amount of volatile compounds in menstrual cups can be decreased by following the manufacturers’ advice to boil the product before use.

Under the regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)(5), Member States or the Commission, through requesting the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), may start the procedure for restrictions on the placing on the market or the use of hazardous chemicals if considered to pose a risk to human health or to the environment.

As an example, REACH bans the use of Dioctyltin compounds in female hygiene products. However, from the available reports, the Commission does not presently have specific indications of a risk that would justify to request ECHA to prepare a restriction on certain chemicals in these products. Neither have France, Sweden or Denmark declared an intention to present a restriction dossier to ECHA to date.

According to the General Product Safety Directive(6) manufacturers are responsible for placing only safe products on the market and Member States enforce this obligation. Member States are also obliged to notify through the EU Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products(7) measures taken against products posing a risk. To date, no notification on feminine hygiene products has been submitted in the Rapid Alert System.

(1)Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail.
(4)Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals and the Austrian Consumer organisation Verein für Konsumentinformation published in https://kemi.taenk.dk/bliv-groennere/test-menstrual-cups
(5)Regulation No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006.
(6)General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC) OJ L 11, 15.01.2002, p. 4.EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.

Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice