Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Glyphosate and Other Toxic Chemicals Detected in French Diapers

Health + Wellness
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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Smoke rises above wrecked buildings following a deadly explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.

Read More Show Less
Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and at younger ages, partly due to poor diets that make bodies less resistant to the coronavirus. Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

By Michelle D. Holmes

Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.

As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.

Read More Show Less
A warning sign near the Dakota Access Pipeline endpoint in Patoka, Illinois on Nov. 11, 2016. Cyrene Krey / Flickr

The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline won a reprieve Wednesday when an appeals court canceled a lower court order mandating the pipeline be shut down and emptied of oil while a full environmental impact statement is completed.

Read More Show Less

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that would ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. and institute stronger protections for farmworkers and communities that have been exposed to damaging chemicals by the agriculture industry.

Read More Show Less
A British Petroleum petrol station on March 10, 2017, in Ciudad Satelite, Naucalpan de Juarez municipality, Mexico State. The company will reportedly start to offer electric vehicle recharging stations at its retail gasoline stations. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP via Getty Images

BP, the energy giant that grew from oil and gas production, is taking its business in a new direction, announcing Tuesday that it will slash its oil and gas production by 40 percent and increase its annual investment in low-carbon technology to $5 billion, a ten-fold increase over its current level, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Recycled paper at the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority's recycling site piles up in Edinburgh, Australia, on April 17, 2019. Brenton Edwards / AFP / Getty Images

By Alex Thornton

The Australian government has announced a A$190 million (US$130 million) investment in the nation's first Recycling Modernization Fund, with the aim of transforming the country's waste and recycling industry. The hope is that as many as 10,000 jobs can be created in what is being called a "once in a generation" opportunity to remodel the way Australia deals with its waste.

Read More Show Less

Trending

President Trump displays his signature after signing The Great American Outdoors Act on August 4, 2020. The White House

The Great American Outdoors Act is now the law of the land.

Read More Show Less