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BABY

Three brothers defy odds to share birthday

Three little boys are set to share their birthday parties for the foreseeable future after a French family welcomed its third son born, like his brothers, on July 19th - a unique occurrence with odds of more than 48 million to one.

Three brothers defy odds to share birthday
Photo: Will Clayton
The Valençot family from Savigneux in Ain in eastern France are just coming to terms with the timely arrival of Charly last Thursday as an extra special birthday present to his brothers Alban (5) and William (3).
 
"It is unique in France. The doctors have no clear explanation. Also every time I gave birth by natural means," the boys' mother Severine Valençot told the Le Progrès daily.
 
And while somewhat less dramatic, the similarities don't end there.
 
"What's funny is, as for the first two, I had the same midwife and nurse. And they hadn't worked together for two years," Severine Valençot told the newspaper.
 
While the case may be unique in France, there have been similar incidences in Ireland and Scandinavia, according to the father Guillaume Valençot.
 
Alban and William meanwhile appear to have taken the news that they are to share their birthday with another sibling in their stride.
 
"They have already said that there will be some big parties," he joked, adding that they have been promised a birthday cake each.

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CANCER

Pampers nappies ‘contain carcinogenics’: French study

Pampers nappies contain small traces of cancerous substances, a new French study has alleged.

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick
Pampers nappies – the market leader in France and around the world for nappies – contain toxic chemicals that are linked to several types of cancer, according to a study published on Tuesday by the French health association Asef. 
 
The carcinogenics have been linked to skin, lung, bladder, liver, and stomach cancer.
 
These potentially harmful compounds in the nappies are ironically found in the chemicals there to protect the sensitive skin of the babies and prevent irritation, specifically in the petrolatum, which is commonly found in care products for its moisturizing qualities.
 
However depending on where and how it has been refined, petrolatum can be contaminated with the toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). 
 
These cancerous compounds were found in the nappies and so “are in contact with the most intimate parts of our children for 23 and a half hours a day,” Ludivine Ferrer, head of Asef, told the Le Parisien newspaper
 
Researchers noted that only extremely low levels of the hydrocarbons were found in the nappies, below the 0.2 mg/kg legally allowed within the EU, but study authors said it didn't matter. 
 
“While it's legal to have tiny traces, this is just too much from a moral perspective,” Ferrer told the paper. 
 
Ferrer suspects that there might be long-term risks for children who wear the nappies, adding that if the effects were immediate “the producers would have changed their manufacturing methods a long time ago”. 
 
The study was carried out in collaboration with French ecological baby product company Love and Green.
 
Proctor and Gamble, the owner of the Pampers brand, is yet to comment on the allegations. 
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