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Limoges creche bans ‘endocrine disruptor’ chemicals

A creche in Limoges has banned the set of chemicals known as “endocrine disruptors”, including in toys, paint, cleaning materials, and babies’ bibs.

The move is said to be the first for a creche in France, reports French news source 20 Minutes, and comes just months after the European Commission controversially debated the use of the chemicals in society.

In large enough quantities, the chemicals - usually found in plastic, but also in cosmetics, cleaning materials and food, and known as “pertubateurs endocriniens” in French - are said to affect the health of the endocrine system in humans and animals, including the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, and the pancreas.

The 60-child creche, named Joliot-Curie Limoges, took advice from chemical scientists on the subject, who suggested that a totally disruptor-free zone could be a worthwhile experiment.

The measure coincided with the creche’s own building work to enlarge and update the space, which made the transition easier, as replacing toys, paints, crockery and other materials would be just another part of the update process.

The new rules also meant that some floor and wall coverings needed to be replaced, and there was also an evaluation of the cleaning materials, textiles and crockery used. Overall, 147 improvement points were identified by the scientists involved.

Gouache paints, wooden toys, china plates, anti-bacterial wipes and certain cleaning materials have now replaced the potentially-dangerous varieties that were previously used.

The new measure is now expected to be rolled out across 12 other municipal creches.

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The mayor of the town, Dr. Emile Roger Lombertie, explained that the move forms part of the town’s 2015 charter to create a healthier Limoges, especially when it comes to children.

“In January 2015, we signed the ‘citizens’ health charter’ and we especially targeted the childhood sector,” explained Nadine Rivet, manager of infant services in Limoges, speaking to 20 Minutes.

This has extended not just to plastics; the town’s school meals have also been evaluated to reduce levels of salt, sugar, and fat.

Other areas of France are also taking a stand against the disruptor chemicals, with the “Cantine Sans Plastique” (Cantine Without Plastic) group persuading Alain Juppé to demand that in Bordeaux, all plastic crockery and tableware should be replaced by tempered glass by January 1.

Similarly, in late July, a list was published in France detailing all the pesticide products containing the dangerous chemicals.

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