France’s national health agency Anses says it has found chemicals in babies’ nappies that exceed safety levels.

Tests found levels above safety thresholds for substances potentially dangerous to human health, and lower levels of others including the controversial weedkiller glyphosate.

Anses said its nappy tests were the first of their kind in the world.

It has called for rapid action “considering the possible risks these chemicals may pose” to babies.

France’s Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said there was “no serious or immediate risk” to babies’ health.

“Obviously we should continue putting nappies on our babies. We’ve been doing that for at least 50 years,” she told AFP.

But a joint statement by the health, finance and environment ministers said the government had given nappy manufacturers 15 days to come up with an action plan aimed at getting rid of the toxic substances.

Ms Buzyn said the government would accept a delay of up to six months for production methods to change.

The study was done on a number of different brands of single-use nappies available in the French market.

The report did not name the brands it tested, beyond saying it was representative of the French market. Some nappy brands available in France are also sold in other countries.

Under what it called “realistic use” conditions, 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,” the agency said.

Some of the chemicals were added intentionally, “such as perfumes that could cause skin allergies”, Anses said.

But others were probably introduced from contaminated materials, or as part of the manufacturing process plan.

Among the chemicals found in excess of safety thresholds were the perfumes Lilial and Lyral, and aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans.

Glyphosate was also listed in the agency’s report, at lower levels.


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