Chemical Concentrations in Diapers Exceed Thresholds

Between 2016 and 2018, the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail: ANSES) inspected disposable diapers and found a variety of chemicals in concentrations that can be hazardous to infant health. That’s the finding a report published (French only) by the agency in January 2019.

The authors find the concentrations of the following chemicals to be critical:

  • 2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl)propionaldehyde (Lilial®): Lily of the valley fragrance
  • 4-(4-Hydroxy-4-methylpentyl)-3-cyclohexan-Carboxaldehyde (Lyral®): Fragrance type IV – contact allergen
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs)
  • Dioxins
  • Furans

Most of the chemicals (DL-PCBs, dioxins, furanes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) occur during manufacturing, but others enter the product through contaminated raw materials. The fragrances are added to the diapers purposely. That’s why the authors urge manufacturers to:

  • Avoid adding fragrances that sensitize the skin
  • Ensure the quality of raw materials through better monitoring
  • Improve the manufacturing process for diapers

You can also read the ANSES press release.

EDANA, the European association and voice of the nonwovens and related industries, reacted to the publication by ANSES and issued a statement ensuring that the 21 billion diapers placed on the European market every year can always be used safely.

We can help you ensure the legal compliance of your products. Please contact us at

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