No organotin compounds...
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No organotin compounds found in diapers

28 June 2012

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) has had  eleven different types of diapers analysed to see if they contain any prohibited organotin compounds. None of the analysed diapers contained any of the prohibited substances.

- It´s a positive result showing that the restrictions appear to be followed and that children are not exposed to organotin compounds by the use of diapers, says Magdalena Salomonsson inspector at KemI.

The organotin compounds tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT) and dioctyltin (DOT) may, under REACH Annex XVII, not be used in products that are sold to or used by the public if their concentration in the article or part of the article exceeds the equivalent to 0.1 percent by weight of tin.


According to an EU report of 2007 (Risk and Policy Analysts Limited, 2007), organotin compounds have previously been found in diapers. The compounds have been used as catalysts in the process for the production of certain forms of silicone used in diapers. They have also been used in the production of stabilisers which, in turn, are used in the manufacture of the diaper plastics material.
The same report says that organotin compounds are no longer intentionally used in the manufacture of diapers, but they can still occur in low concentrations as impurities.

Properties of the substances

TBT, DBT and DOT have different properties, but many are persistent and toxic. They may also accumulate in living organisms. The compounds also have endocrine disrupting properties and some of them may interfere with reproduction.

The restrictions in Annex XVII of REACH became effective on 1 July 2010 and 1 January 2012, respectively.

Children are particularly sensitive

KemI has never before analysed the presence of organotin compounds in diapers. The project is part of the Swedish Chemicals Agency´s action plan for a toxic-free everyday environment. The action plan was developed on behalf of the Swedish Government and the assignment is to report what measures are needed in the years 2011 - 2014 to reduce the risk of people in their everyday lives to be exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Because children are particularly sensitive and use diapers every day, it is very important to check that they do not contain any toxic substances.

Project schedule

Eleven different brands of diapers from five commodity chains were purchased and sent to external analysis by an accredited laboratory. The parts analysed were the elastic parts of the diapers and the thin surface layer over the absorbent material.
The results showed that none of the purchased diapers contained any of the organotin compounds TBT, DBT, or DOT.

Companies that sell the diapers have been informed about the project and its results.



Mariana Pilenvik