toxic substances in diapers: babies overly exposed


In January 2019, a report by ANSES alerted consumers to the presence of toxic substances in babies' diapers. Fortunately, a new fraud repression survey paints a more reassuring picture, with better results for some brands. So who are the good and bad students?

If you are the parent of a baby, you have most certainly followed the health scandal that erupted in France around diapers two years ago. A report from the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) revealed the presence of toxic substances in babies' diapers. It had the effect of a bomb, as we did not expect to find substances that we thought were reserved for household products such as dioxins, furans, PCBs, formaldehyde, hydrocarbons … And what's more with brands surfing organic marketing codes. Possibly carcinogenic components which may " migrate in the urine and come in contact with babies' skin for a long time ". In the short term, these substances can increase the number of skin allergies, eczema, pimples, and in the long term, because of their cocktail effect, cause cancer.

A significant drop

Following this report, manufacturers of diapers for babies were ordered to review the composition of their products and to present their new measures within 6 months. In a press release published in July 2020, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) said it had made significant progress in its new investigation involving 32 references of baby diapers. " The checks carried out confirm that the work undertaken by the professionals has improved the quality of the references taken, and make it possible to observe that the health thresholds related to exposure to diapers have not been exceeded. No exceedance of health thresholds related to exposure to diapers for babies has been observed », Indicates the press release.

A downside on formaldehyde

The analyzes of the DGCCRF nevertheless demonstrated the still significant presence of formaldehyde in certain brands. These are therefore summed " to deepen their diagnoses within six months to quickly reach a content below 10% of the health threshold ". These layers contain formaldehyde levels below the exposure threshold, but their presence remains too high, giving rise to fears of an accumulation effect, even though no evidence of their dangerousness has been reported. Note that the side of the association for the health of children, very involved in the file, we still denounce too much opacity on the real composition of the diapers.

Overall positive results

However, let the parents be reassured: “ The results are positive and the improvements very clear. No layer has toxic substances above the thresholds recommended by the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES). And even if there is still some progress to be made, the situation, which was not acceptable last year, is much more favorable today », Declared Loïc Tanguy, chief of staff of the DGCCRF.

So who are the good students and the worst students?

The references of disposable diapers that have obtained the best results are: Bambo Nature, Eco By Naty, Huggies Little Swimmers, Joone, and Pampers Harmonie. As for manufacturers who can still improve their manufacturing, we find the Carryboo and Love & Green brands which exceed the threshold by 10 to 25% (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs), and the Marmailles Plus and Pampers brands from 10 to 25% (formaldehydes ), while the Mona Zaza brand exceeds it by 25-50%.

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Source: press release "Chemical substances in baby diapers: the DGCCRF survey confirms the improvement in product quality and the absence of exceeding health thresholds" 07/02/2020