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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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HEALTH

French risk ‘preventable’ cancers by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily

The French are needlessly putting themselves at risk of developing cancer by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily, a new study reveals.

French risk 'preventable' cancers by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily
Photo: AFP
The study by French health authority Santé publique France said that four out of ten cancer cases could be avoided by a change in behaviour. 
 
And in France that means less smoking and drinking alcohol, which were the top two causes of “preventable” cases of cancer in France, followed by poor diet and obesity, according to figures released by the health authority on Monday. 
 
Each of these factors kill a lot more people than they should, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Santé publique France.
 
Of the 346,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in 2015 among those aged 30 and over, “142,000 (41 percent) could have been avoided if the entire population had not been exposed to the risk factors studied, or if exposure had been limited,” said the IARC. 
 
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The French food you love but should really steer clear of

Photo: Alpha/Flickr

Cancer is the leading cause of death in France, ahead of cardiovascular diseases, with tumors killing 164,000 people in 2013, according to France's Ministry of Health.

Smoking-related cancers such as lung cancer, among others, mainly affect the working classes.
 
The risk of getting these cancers is 1.5 to 2 times higher among the 20 percent most disadvantaged people in France compared to the 20 percent at the other end of the spectrum, said the IARC.
 
“Too few French people are aware of the risks they are taking,” said Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, who has taken a strong stance against smoking in France, in March. 
 
Alcohol is responsible for 8 percent of new “preventable” cancer cases, with the authors of the study saying that France could do much more to prevent alcoholism and advocating “increasing prices and taxes” on alcohol. 
 
Meanwhile, poor diet and obesity are each responsible for 5.4 percent of new “preventable” cancer cases, with the IARC pointing to the risks of a “low consumption of fruits, vegetables, dietary fiber and dairy products combined with a high consumption of red meats and processed meats”. 
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