The Science of Dioxin

April 27, 2017 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Korea Agency for Technology and Standards Finds No Dioxin in Pampers Diapers

The Korea Agency for Technology and Standards has found no dioxin present in diapers manufactured by Procter & Gamble and sold by retailers in Korea. Retailers had withdrawn the diapers over a French consumer publication’s claim that it had detected dioxin in the diapers.

Background

Retailers in South Korea reportedly removed Pampers Baby Dry Diapers from their stores following the French publication’s report claiming that it had detected 0.000533 picogram (“pg”) toxic equivalents (“TEQ”)/gram of dioxin – approximately 1/188th the level permitted for baby products in Europe.

In response, the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards said that it would investigate the safety of the diapers. “We will investigate if there are actually toxic chemicals, and if so, how dangerous they are,” an agency official was quoted as saying. There are no formal guidelines on dioxin in diapers, the official acknowledged. “As for the level of danger for dioxin, there are rules only on emissions,” the official said. “There has to be negotiations on detection.”

A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of the diapers, was quoted as denying the French magazine’s allegations. “We don’t know how those tests were conducted. What we can say for certain is that those compounds were never used intentionally in our products. Even the amounts that the French tests claim were detected are at an extremely minute and harmless level.”

The Agency’s Results

Following the investigation, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in Korea announced that no dioxin or pesticides had been detected from four diaper products that had been purchased at random from stores in Korea: Pampers Baby Dry, Swaddlers Sensitive, Cruisers, and Easy Ups. It stated that, “The toxic chemicals detected by the French magazine may have come from the surrounding environment, rather than artificially used during the manufacturing process.”

News reports have suggested that, despite the government’s findings, Korean stores may not be willing to resume selling the Pampers Baby Dry diapers again but, rather, will seek to determine whether consumers would be willing to purchase the product in the future.

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