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Parliamentary questions
26 June 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Christine De Veyrac (PPE)

 Subject: Toxic substances in nail varnish

Studies have revealed that certain nail varnishes are potentially dangerous to EU consumers.

According to the latest report by the European Rapid Alert System for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX) commissioned by the European Commission, certain nail varnishes on the market contain toxic substances that cause cancer.

At the end of 2009, an investigation by the French body DGCCRF (Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Repression) was carried out on a national level, revealing that prohibited phthalates and formaldehyde concentrations exceeding the 5 % limit (set in 1996) could be found in certain nail varnishes.

According to Frédéric Vincent, spokesperson for health and consumers at the Commission, ‘prohibited phthalates are the substances that are most often identified in these products. They mainly come from the United States but also from Europe, in particular from the United Kingdom’.

The risks consumers are exposed to have therefore been established. Some environmental chemists from the RES (Health-Environment Network) claim that ‘formaldehyde is carcinogenic and phthalates are toxic to reproduction. These substances in nail varnishes can pass from the nail into the body. As they are volatile, they can also be inhaled’.

In view of the above, can the Commission indicate whether it intends to implement measures to increase consumer information on the toxicity of certain nail varnishes?

Original language of question: FROJ C 183 E, 28/06/2013
Last updated: 10 July 2012Legal notice