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'Disrupting chemicals' in diapers marketed in India adversely impacting infants' health

By Our Representative

If you are a doting as well as a discerning parent with a baby or toddler this is for you! A new study, ‘What’s in the Diaper: Presence of Phthalates in Baby Diapers’ released by Delhi-based advocacy organisation, Toxics Link, has sought to raise concern over toxic phthalates which it says have been found in disposable baby nappies that are available in the Indian market.
Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and exposure to them is known to cause serious health impairments, the study claims. Quoting scientific studies, it says, “Children are more vulnerable to phthalate exposures because of their hand-to-mouth behaviours, floor play, and developing nervous and reproductive systems. Phthalates in disposable diapers are also a concern for babies as diapers are in direct contact with their skin for a long period of time each day for 2-3 years.”
“The study found high levels of phthalates ranging from 2.36ppm to 302.25ppm. The Bis(2-ethylexyl) phthalates (DEHP) is the most toxic phthalate and is restricted or banned in several children products but was found between 2.36ppm to 264.94 ppm in the tested samples,” says Alka Dubey, programme coordinator at the Toxics Link.
In all 20 diaper samples were randomly collected from local markets and chemist shops in Delhi. Few samples were purchased from commonly used e-commerce platforms as well. All the samples were analysed in a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited laboratory (Spectro Analytical Lab Ltd Okhla, New Delhi).
“Generally phthalates are non-covalently bound to polymers used in diapers; they are easily released from the diapers. As a diaper is in direct contact with the external genitals of infants and toddlers for several months to years, there is a possibility that phthalates can enter the bodies of babies through dermal absorption and can cause adverse health impacts on the children”, says stated Satish Sinha, associate director at Toxics Link.
“Phthalates are recognised as endocrine disrupting chemicals which directly impact the endocrine systems and can be the cause for multiple ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and reproductive disorders. There are scientific studies confirming the dermal absorption of phthalates from the diapers. Further, these chemicals can leach out in the municipal waste stream and can pose serious challenges into the environment as well,” he adds.
Claiming to be first of its kind study in India, Piyush Mohapatra, senior programme coordinator, Toxics Link says, “Globally efforts have been made to phase out phthalates from various products and most importantly from children’s products. India has also set the standards for five common phthalates – DEHP, DBP (Di-butyl phthalate), BBP (Benzyl butyl phthalate), DIDP (Diisodecyl phthalate), DNOP (Di-n-octyl phthalate) and DINP (Diisononyl phthalate) – in various children’s products. However, there is no such regulation in place for baby diapers in our country.”
According to the study, labelling is a matter of big concern, as none of the manufacturers of the tested samples have listed the ingredients and chemicals used for making the diapers.
Manufacturers need to look into the issue and refrain from adding phthalates in diapers considering their health implications as well as environmental concerns. Further the government needs to take strict action to phase out phthalates from diapers with suitable regulations and to come up with some stringent measures for packaging and labelling of the products, it insists.
Nearly 40% of the samples were purchased from the local weekly market, while 60% were well-known branded ones. DEHP, DBP, DIBP, BBP and other phthalates were analyzed. DEHP, DBP, BBP were detected in all analyzed samples, The highest phthalate content reported was 302.25ppm.
DEHP, the most toxic phthalate, was observed in the range of 2.36ppm to 264.94ppm in the analyzed samples. DBP was found in the range of 2.35ppm to 37.31ppm while the total phthalate content of diaper samples was between 8.2ppm to 302.25ppm.
BBP was below detection limit or not detected in most samples except one where it was found to be 3.24ppm. DIBP was detected in three samples between 1.92 ppm to 12.36ppm.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Give the names . No point covering them up .

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