France warned to avoid 100 ‘toxic’ household products

In a report set to be published on Tuesday, the magazine 60 Millions Consumers said that a worrying number of household products in France contained "toxic" substances.

France warned to avoid 100 'toxic' household products
Photo: Komunews/Flicks
Just in time for spring cleaning, the group is releasing a study into the contents of over 100 typical household products.
“Bad news,” the magazine wrote. “Almost all of them contained at least one undesirable substance.”
These include allergenics, irritants, corrosives, and ingredients containing environmental risks.
This comes after recent reports of big-name cosmetics products to avoid and 107 supermarket foods that were blacklisted last week. 
The magazine singled out cleaning products including Skip, Cilit Bang, Mr. Propre, and La Croix.
It also inspected softeners, fresheners for refrigerators and dishwashers, cleaners for washing machines, and more. 
The editor of the magazine said that the detergent industry seemed set on equipping the French with “an arsenal of products as if there was a war”. 
“People need to be better informed and to make better decisions,” she told Le Parisien newspaper
“The idea is to raise the public's awareness about the two sides of each of these products, which are promising us softness and freshness, but which are actually aggressive.”
The new magazine, available on Tuesday, offers a series of tips for natural cleaning remedies, as well as tips to “decoding the jargon” on the back of cleaning products. 

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France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.