Pampers scare over as tests declare them clean

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Pampers scare over as tests declare them clean

Pampers, the disposable diapers that were pulled from store shelves last month over safety worries, have been cleared of suspicion of containing toxic compounds including dioxin.

According to the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards on Monday, it has found no dioxin or pesticides in four diaper products from U.S. multinational Procter & Gamble. Earlier this year, French magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs reported that some Pampers contain potentially harmful chemicals such as dioxin and pesticides.

The tests were conducted by a group of related government departments including the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the Ministry of Environment as well as experts from the private sector’s Research Institute of Industrial Service & Technology.

The joint research team tested for toxic components in P&G’s Pampers Baby Dry, Swaddlers Sensitive, Cruisers and Easy Ups that were randomly bought from stores in Korea.

“The study was made after certain models of P&G diapers sold in France were found to contain dioxin and two types of pesticides and the same models were being sold in Korea,” said Kim Han-sik, a researcher at the agency.

The agency speculated that the dioxin and pesticides found in the diapers in France were not the result of the manufacturing process but could have been caused by the environment.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 90 percent of dioxin exposure is caused by food consumption and the hazard from sanitary products and absorption through the skin is less.

P&G faced a backlash from Korean consumers after it claimed that the dioxin level in Pampers in France was miniscule and far below the regulated amounts allowed in EU food products.

In January, 60 Millions de Consommateurs, which is published by the state agency Institut National de la Consommation, reported that it detected potential carcinogenics in 10 out of 12 diaper brands.

It noted that the quantities were too small to be a health hazard.

But that it was not enough to scare many parents.

Pampers is the second most popular diaper after Huggies, with a market share of roughly 13 to 14 percent.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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