France warns of toxic substances found in 23 types of babies’ nappies

France warns of toxic substances found in 23 types of babies' nappies
Photo: AFP
The French government has ordered manufacturers to remove potentially toxic substances that have been found in babies’ nappies but has not ordered a recall of the products.

The demand came after the French environment agency ANSES said it had found toxic substances, including the widely-used weed-killer glyphosate and butylphenyl methylpropional which is used in beauty products, in nappies which it had examined.

“Following studies carried out on nappies and how they are used, the watchdog has found evidence of several chemical substances at dangerously high levels,” the agency said.

But ANSES said however that it found “no epidemiological data that shows any link between effects on health and the wearing of nappies” and did not call for the products to be removed from supermarket shelves.

But the agency’s managing director Gérard Lasfargues said that “risk cannot be excluded… as we observed a breach of the safety threshold for a certain number of substances.”

The government said producers of disposable nappies, which 95 percent of all babies in France wear, and shops must make sure the substances are removed from nappies.

“We call on manufacturers and retailers to take measures within the next 15 days to eliminate these substances from babies' nappies,” said a joint statement from the health, environment and finance ministries.

The statement also called on parents to inform themselves about the products used in the nappies.

French babies go through between 3,800 et 4,800 nappies before they are toilet-trained, according to ANSES.

Benjamin Binot, the managing director of Procter et Gamble France, which produces Pampers nappies, told RTL radio that “our nappies are safe.”

But the company on Wednesday set up a helpline for worried parents who want to find out more about what’s in the nappies they buy: 0 800 945 130.

In a report published in January 2017, the magazine 60 Million Consumers (60 Millions de Consommateurs) said its testers had detected potential carcinogenics in ten different brands of nappies out of the 12 it tested.  

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