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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Disposable nappies: consultation with stakeholders regarding the Europe-wide restriction of chemicals that are harmful to babies' health

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News of 15/01/2020

ANSES is proposing to restrict chemicals found in disposable nappies, under the European chemicals regulation REACh, in order to better protect babies' health. This proposal aims to prohibit or limit the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins, furans, PCBs and formaldehyde in these items. A year after its report pointing out the health risks associated with the presence of these substances in nappies, this proposal from ANSES is intended to strengthen the regulatory framework for these items in order to protect the health of young children. Consulting the interested parties is an important step in preparing the restriction dossier, as it enables useful information to be gathered, particularly on the use of substances identified as of concern in disposable nappies and on babies' exposure.

In January 2019, ANSES published an assessment report highlighting the health risks to babies from chemicals in single-use nappies. In its expert appraisal, the Agency identified several substances of concern and recommended, among other things, strengthening regulatory measures in order to improve the safety of nappy manufacturing.

Following its analysis, the Agency concluded that a REACh restriction would be the most appropriate regulatory measure to reduce these risks (Analysis of the most appropriate regulatory management option (RMOA), August 2019). In September 2019, France notified the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of its intention to prepare a restriction dossier in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (known as REACh). ANSES is in the process of preparing this proposal for submission in October 2020. It aims to limit the presence of hazardous substances, PAHs, PCBs, dioxins, furans and formaldehyde in nappies to better protect babies' health.

As part of this ongoing work, ANSES is issuing a call for comments and evidence. This is an important step intended to gather information on aspects such as the use of chemicals identified as of concern in single-use baby nappies, exposure data, possible substitutes, and socio-economic data. This information is essential for carrying out the scientific assessment in support of the restriction proposal dossier.