UFC-Que Choisir calls for no longer buying ballpoint pens for children

published on Thursday, August 25, 2022 at 4:21 p.m.

The manufacture of school supplies is insufficiently supervised and potentially dangerous components are found in many of them, believes the association UFC-Que Choisir, which calls on parents in particular to avoid the purchase of ballpoint pens.

The consumer defense association “advises parents not to buy ballpoint pens for their children given the cocktail of harmful substances found in all the references tested”, she said in a press release published Thursday.

A few days before the start of the school year, the association has indeed tested around thirty school products (pens, markers or highlighters) and concludes that almost half of them include potentially dangerous components.

These are “reprotoxic and endocrine disrupting phthalates, carcinogenic impurities, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, isothiazolinones, benzyl alcohol, toluene and benzene”, lists the association.

These components are known to be likely to cause multiple pathologies ranging from allergies to cancers, even if this risk remains theoretical in the absence of studies on the possible concrete consequences on the health of pupils.

However, the risk is taken seriously enough by the health authorities for one of them, the National Health Security Agency (Anses), to be concerned about it at the beginning of the summer.

On the basis of work which also included previous tests by UFC-Que Choisir, it had deemed the legislation insufficient at both French and European level.

She had asked to align European legislation with that, much more restrictive, in force for toys, taking up a request already expressed for a long time by the UFC-Que Choisir.

The latter reiterated it during its test on Thursday, judging that it proved the insufficiency of the regulations in force, and asking France to bring the subject to European level.

“Almost none of these products are illegal in terms of their composition due to European regulations that are as lax as they are grotesque,” ​​she judges.

One exception, however: a pen bought in a store of the B&M chain, already appears illegal, according to the association, which calls for its immediate withdrawal.

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