Toxins discovered in babies' nappies

Toxins discovered in babies' nappies
By Philip Andrew Churm
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Dozens of potentially harmful chemicals have been found in nappies following French tests.


A variety of potentially toxic substances, including the widely-used but controversial weed-killer glyphosate have been found in babies' nappies. 

According to France's national health agency Anses, some of the chemicals exceed safety levels.

Anses said its nappy tests were the first of their kind in the world.

Deputy Director of Anses, Gerard Lasfargues, said: "We found a dozen substances which went over the permitted threshold. Those substances have either to do with perfume which the industry intentionally adds in nappies, primarily for marketing reasons, or substances which appear during the manufacturing process of the nappies."

The study has prompted a quick response from the French government which has given manufacturers 15 days to come up with an action plan aimed at getting rid of the toxic substances.  But it urged against panic.  

"I want to reassure parents," said French health Minister, Agnes Buzyn ANSES. "As it stands there are no immediate risks for the health of children.  We would see it because all the children in the world wear nappies so there is no immediate risk."

The director of Risk Assessment at the French Environment Agency, Matthieu Schuler, told Good Morning Europe what sort of problems people might face.

"There are two types of risk," he said. "One of them is a skin irritation which is caused by the intentional introduction of perfumes.  And the other family is the PHA and dioxin ... and the effects are long term and more harmful." 

And the findings from the study have alarmed some consumers.

One woman in Paris said: "We worry about ourselves, but when its for babies it's even worse."

Soraya, another Parisian mother said: " Of course it's very worrying, they are infants, they're very small. But in any case, it's not just nappies. It's also baby wipes, there are too many chemicals in them and I think it's bad for children."

A statement on behalf of makers of French hygiene products said more than three billion nappies were used every year without any adverse health effects.

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