WASHINGTON – Today the Environmental Working Group published a new comprehensive Guide to Safer Diapers, an analysis of the chemicals and materials used in baby diapers, to help parents and caregivers sort through the vast array of product options – and related advertising claims – available on the market. EWG also launched EWG VERIFIED™ Diapers, with Healthynest as the first diaper brand to meet EWG’s rigorous criteria for health and ingredient disclosure.
If you’re a new parent, it can be confusing to keep up with the latest recommendations about giving your baby a healthy start. As more and more scientists find a connection between the ingredients used in consumer products and potential health hazards, new parents often feel as if they’re on their own navigating decisions when it comes to buying important things like diapers.
“In just the first year, a typical baby wears about 2,500 diapers,” said Nneka Leiba, vice president of Healthy Living Science at EWG. “But many disposable diapers contain chemicals that can harm their health, like pesticides and other chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive development and dermatitis. Because the safety of diapers isn’t adequately regulated, our new criteria set the standard for health that parents can rely on.”
The Consumer Products Safety Commission – the agency that regulates the $13 billion diaper industry – doesn’t require manufacturers of disposable diapers to disclose their ingredients publicly or ensure that their products are made without, or are not contaminated with, harmful substances like formaldehyde and pesticides. The agency requires that baby diapers only be tested for lead.
“We were shocked to learn that baby diapers aren’t really regulated,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Our children deserve the best. And yet we don’t know what ingredients are used to make a product our babies wear all day long.”
“At EWG, we’re striving to make clean and healthy consumer products the norm. I am delighted that we’ve added healthy diapers to the growing list of EWG VERIFIED products. And I’m hopeful that other companies will follow Healthynest’s lead to clean up the diaper world,” Cook added.
Healthynest is a personal care brand for babies led by founder Shazi Visram. Visram is a member of EWG’s board of directors.
“At Healthynest, we’re dedicated to evolving and improving the baby care category so parents can have choices that perform while also supporting the absolute highest standard of safety and ethics,” said Visram, who pioneered the organic baby food category with her first company, Happy Family.
“As a parent focused on eliminating toxic exposure to our children,” she said, “I have always been surprised by the lack of transparency in the diaper category, leading to unregulated material lists and leaving families with unanswered questions about the safety of such a key product in a baby's life. We've spent the past two plus years developing the Healthynest diapers, and are so very proud to launch the first ever EWG VERIFIED diaper, which is certified free of toxins and utilizes the latest and cleanest technology so that baby can have the very best.”
For a 2019 study by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, researchers tested 23 diapers and found a number of volatile organic compounds, phthalates, formaldehyde, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Several of the chemicals were found at levels higher than what the agency says pose a risk for infant health.
Three pesticides, including glyphosate, and two corresponding metabolites were detected in the diapers the agency tested. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and California’s Proposition 65 registry lists it as a known carcinogen.
A newborn’s skin is significantly thinner and more permeable than that of an adult and can more readily absorb some chemicals. The area around a baby’s genitals is even thinner and more susceptible to exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, like dyes, chlorine and phthalates, all of which can be found in diapers.
Although some brands claiming to make “greener” or healthier options disclose their ingredients, many larger brands that dominate the market have chosen not to. When you see the EWG VERIFIED mark on a package of diapers, you can trust that they meet EWG’s strictest standards for your baby’s health.
For more than a decade, EWG has been at the forefront of chemical ingredient disclosure in personal care products, believing that people have the right to know what is in the products they purchase and use every day. The EWG VERIFIED program was created to fill the void left by our nation’s antiquated law regulating consumer products, and now includes household cleaners and diapers.
EWG is widely recognized as the most trusted and rigorous evaluator of chemical safety in consumer products. EWG awards this prestigious mark only to diaper products that meet stringent ingredient and transparency requirements. An EWG VERIFIED baby diaper is the gold standard in the health and wellness space.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.
Healthynest is a platform for new parents designed to protect and enrich the fullest potential of every baby by elevating everyday moments and routines in the home, during the monumental, life-shaping first few years of baby's life. The company gives parents a safe place to access the newest information, connect with supportive coaches and experts, and find enlightened products like plant-based diapers, wipes and cleaning products for baby's environment, all meeting rigorous food grade quality standards. All products are thoughtfully paired with enrichment activities that encourage the development of deeper connections. To learn more about Healthynest, visit www.healthybaby.com.