Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Glyphosate and Other Toxic Chemicals Detected in French Diapers

Health + Wellness
Glyphosate and Other Toxic Chemicals Detected in French Diapers
A pair of disposable diapers photographed in a studio in Paris. JOEL SAGET / AFP / Getty Images

In a study said to be the first of its kind worldwide, French health agency Anses has found potentially dangerous chemicals in disposable diapers. The substances they discovered include glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, BBC News reported.

Anses said it "detected a number of hazardous chemicals in disposable diapers that could migrate through urine, for example, and enter into prolonged contact with babies' skin." Some of the chemicals were found at levels above safety limits while others, like glyphosate, were found at lower levels.


The report, published Wednesday, was based on tests of 23 samples of diapers on sale in France between 2016 and 2018, including brands billed as "ecological," The Guardian reported. The agency did not name specific brands, but said the tests were representative of the market as a whole. Some French diaper brands are also sold in other countries, BBC News pointed out.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn, Environment Minister Francois de Rugy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire have called on French diaper makers and sellers to develop a plan to remove these substances within 15 days.

"Along with Bruno Le Maire and Francois de Rugy, we are calling on the companies to take all necessary measures to make sure nappies are as safe as possible," Buzyn wrote on Twitter, Reuters reported. "There is no immediate, serious risk to the health of children, but it is paramount to take precautions."

Companies will be allowed a delay of six months in changing procedures to eliminate the chemicals, BBC News reported.

The study found 60 chemicals in all, some of which have been banned in the EU for more than 15 years, The Guardian reported. Anses also said that some exceeded limits for safe exposure based on a "realistic" use estimate of 4,000 diapers for a child during their first three years of life.

In addition to glyphosate, The Guardian, BBC News and Reuters reported that other chemicals were found including:

  • Substances found in cigarette or diesel smoke
  • Perfumes Lilial and Lyral
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans
  • Butylphenyl methylpropional used in beauty products

Some chemicals, such as perfumes, were added intentionally.

Two major diaper companies, Pampers and Joone, responded defensively to the report.

"Our nappies are safe and always have been," Pampers said, The Guardian reported. Pampers said it had already put in place all of the safety measures recommended by the report.

Joone President Carole Juge-Llewellyn called the report "alarmist."

However, Anses concluded that, while there were no epidemiological studies yet available on the health risks posed by contaminated diapers, they could not say they were safe.

"It is not possible to exclude a health risk related to the wearing of disposable nappies," the report said.

Glyphosate is considered controversial after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said it was "probably carcinogenic" in 2015. While other agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have ruled otherwise, there is some concern about Monsanto's involvement with studies claiming glyphosate is safe. A report released earlier this month found that an EU license extension for glyphosate was based on a risk assessment that plagiarized from studies Monsanto helped write.

The wildfires that roared through Eastern Washington in September had a devastating impact on an extremely endangered species of rabbit.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protestor in NYC holds up a sign that reads, "November Is Coming" on June 14, 2020 in reference to voting in the 2020 presidential election. Ira L. Black / Corbis / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard

What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Activists fight a peat fire in Siberia in September. ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP via Getty Images

The wildfires that ignited in the Arctic this year started earlier and emitted more carbon dioxide than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A metapopulation project in South Africa has almost doubled the population of cheetahs in less than nine years. Ken Blum / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tony Carnie

South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world's roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It's also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.

Read More Show Less
A new super enzyme feeds on the type of plastic that water and soda bottles are made of, polyethylene terephthalate (PET). zoff-photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Scientists are on the brink of scaling up an enzyme that devours plastic. In the latest breakthrough, the enzyme degraded plastic bottles six times faster than previous research achieved, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch