The last controversy of disposable diapers: Do they contain toxic?

The last controversy of disposable diapers: Do they contain toxic?

José a.González Madrid

«Petrolatum, Stereryl Alcohol and Paraffinum Liquidum».It is not a Harry Potter spell, but are some of the ingredients of disposable baby diapers that are sold in Spanish supermarkets.

However, several associations go further and denounce "the presence of substances with very serious risk profiles".Which are?Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HAP), Policorodibenzo-P-Dioxins (dioxins or PCDD), polychlorodibenzofurans and polychlorobiphenyls (PCB) (PCB).

In a letter sent on Wednesday to the European Commission and signed by 28 organizations, they claim the community executive "greater health protection".In addition, they remind the community executive that the EU strategy on chemicals for sustainability marks that products free of harmful chemicals should be manufactured."All consumers are entitled to safe and toxic products," says Dorota Napierska, a member meas Europe.

"All consumers are entitled to safe and toxic products,"

Dorota Napierska

Zero Waste Europe Member

In 2019, a complaint by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health (Anses) aroused suspicions."There are a certain number of substances that exceed health limits and therefore it is urgent.

A discovery that led the agency to present a "founded proposal" to restrict this group of extremely dangerous substances in these children's products throughout the European Union in these children's products.Also present in Spain "we detect the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HAP) in 2 of the 13 samples, we find fenantreno and naphthalene, in very small quantities, below the legal limit," said the organization of consumers and users (OCU)In 2015.Although subsequent studies have shown that this problem is already history in Spain, ”added three exercises..

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In the investigation of 14 disposable diapers of 9 brands, the OCU concludes that "the data of our study are reassuring, although the results of France must make us think".

200 diapers per month

A newborn baby generally needs 7 disposable diapers per day, that is, around 200 diapers per month, so “a child may need about 4.000 diapers in its early years, ”according to the ANSES."It is essential to reduce, as far as possible, its exposure to a series of worrying substances, such as those that can come into contact with your skin," says Carlos de Prada, director of homeless household, which supports the open letter sentThis Wednesday to the European Commission to support the French restriction.

"All Dodot products and materials are subjected to rigorous safety and performance evaluations before they come into contact with the baby's skin", se defiende la marca propiedad de la estadounidense Procter&Gamble en su página corporativa."No diaper marketed in the European Union has not exceeded security thresholds," Edana, the employer of the manufacturers of these materials.

"All Dodot products and materials are subjected to rigorous safety and performance evaluations before they come into contact with the baby's skin"


However, Brussels, for the moment, keep silent about the gala petition to restrict these substances in children's products.There is only one report and it is from the European Agency for Chemical Substances (ECHA) that recognizes the presence of these chemicals that can represent a risk and admits that it would be best to reduce or eliminate their presence, but, nevertheless, decides not to support the proposalFrench, claiming the existence of some doubts.

«Existing uncertainties should not be used to discredit the restriction, but rather to support it in the objective of one, 28 entities claim the European Commission at the letter sent on Wednesday to Brussels to Brussels.

Do the diapers pollute?

To the ingredient cocktail of the disposable diapers, new components must be added.Cellulose, polyester, pigments, polypropylene and polycrylate polymers that "catch the liquid and prevents the baby's skin from getting wet again, keeping it dry," says Dodot on its website.

However, these materials and these diapers are relatively ‘young’ in Spanish homes.His arrival at the linear of the supermarkets is dated in the 60s.

Until that year, the reusable cloth diapers were the kings in the Spanish houses and return to many homes for their small ecological footprint.An investigation by the United Kingdom environmental agency has put a figure to the impact of disposable diapers.

The British study indicates that the use of this type of products for two and a half years entails an approximately 550 kg emission.However, if reusable diapers are used, almost complete washing machine loads are washed, they are dried outdoors and reuse have a 200 kg emission of carbon dioxide in two and a half years.

Disposable diapers are one of the main sources of waste on the planet.More than diapers are discarded in Spain every year and are not recyclable, they go to the remains container to finish their useful life in the landfill.

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