SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will ban the use of controversial chemical additives called phthalates in blood transfusion supplies and medical implants from later this year.
The drug safety ministry announced on Sunday plans to extend the ban on phthalates currently limited to IV injection kits to blood transfusion kits and medical implants beginning in June.
The move comes on the heels of growing concerns over the controversial chemical additives containing high levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
“Though phthalates aren’t banned in medical instruments in countries like the U.S., Japan, and the EU, we have decided to extend the ban on the additives for the first time in the world to introduce stricter material standards in the medical sector,” a ministry official said.
Phthalates are chemical additives that have been used since 1930 to give plastic and PVC products a soft finish, as plastic feels hard in its original state, given the fact that it is a highly polymerized compound.
Phthalate-based plasticizers such as Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) have been used in a wide range of plastic items, including cosmetics products, toys, washing powder and other PVC and household flooring materials.
However, countries around the world began banning phthalate-based plasticizers around 1999 as studies showed the chemical additives could be harmful to the human body, and branded the substances as endocrine disrupting chemicals.
In 2005, the European Union confirmed that some phthalate-based plasticizers such as DEHP could be toxic and cause cancer, and banned production and imports of toy products containing phthalate-based plasticizers.
Following a series of international scandals, the South Korean government banned the use of some of phthalate-based plasticizers such as DEHP in all plastic toys and food containers in 2006.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)