Open Parliament: Our question on baby nappies published! 📝

When it comes to your baby, health-conscious nappies should be the rule, not the exception!

Recently, we got in touch with Matthieu Orphelin, MP for the Maine-et-Loire, as we wanted the government to address this issue and let us know more about the measures it intends to take in order to improve quality control standards and transparency when it comes to baby nappy production and the substances used therein.

A big thanks to Mr. Orphelin MP for having accepted to address this topic to the Minister for Solidarity and Health on behalf of The Climat’Optimists.

At a time when the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee are highlighting more than ever the need for properly informative packaging advising consumers of the presence of hormone disruptors in the products they buy, how can we ensure parents have sufficient guidance about the healthiest options for their kids?

Appearing in the official French parliamentary gazette, our question was phrased by Matthieu Orphelin in the following manner and posed to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn:

He first brought Ms. Buzyn’s attention to the manufacturing methods involved in producing baby nappies, and how these need to be improved in order to eliminate any substances capable of causing harm or disruption to the hormonal system of newborns.

In France alone, more than 95% of parents use disposable nappies for their babies. And yet, a study conducted by French consumer publication 60 millions de consommateurs 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.

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