Open Parliament: Baby nappies 📝

Via the Open Parliament platform, Les Climat’Optimistes would like to highlight the need to improve the production methods used in baby nappy manufacturing in order to eliminate any substances that might disrupt the hormonal systems of newborns.

In France alone, over 95% of babies wear disposable nappies. And yet, a study conducted by French consumer magazine 60 millions de consommateurs in September 2018 reported that residue from glyphosate, organochlorine and volatile organic compounds could be found in many of the nappies produced by major manufacturers.

On the flipside, an increasing number of producers are committing to the manufacturing of “certified nappies” that are environmentally friendly and, crucially, unharmful to a baby’s health, containing no fragrances or allergens.
The positive efforts made with regard to the production of environmentally conscious nappies deserve to be encouraged, particularly given the sheer number that a baby will go through throughout the course of their infancy. The French national agency for food, hygiene, environmental and workplace safety (ANSES) estimates this figure to be around 5000!

One simple measure that could certainly reassure parents is the introduction of more frequent quality control tests on the nappies worn by children. A measure like this would represent an excellent response to the recommendations made by the European Economic and Social Committee on 20 March 2019, which suggested that better informing European consumers of the presence of hormone disruptors in such products is a must.

Indeed, in a study published in March 2019, The European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI) highlighted the need to make the presence of hormone disruptors in popular consumer goods more detectable and identifiable to everyone. And yet, the current labelling situation for European products, which lists, in a relatively arcane manner, the chemical substances contained within them falls very much short of this. For its part, French agency ANSES also suggested in its January 2019 recommendation that regulation should be bolstered to guarantee the safety of nappies and related products.

To this end, the agency would like to know what actions could be taken in order to test production methods in a more efficient and more transparent manner, all the while better informing parents of the contents that make up such products so that they can make an informed decision about purchasing the product most respectful of their baby’s health.

This question was posed by Lauriane and Vivien, our Head of Research and Head of Biodiversity & Health.

Check out the extent of our question on the Open Parliament platform (in French only).