Water absorbing polymers

Last update 7 April 2017

Water absorbing polymers with NAMW 10000 and greater—meaning a polymer capable of absorbing its own weight in water—do not qualify as PLCs.

This criterion is for water absorbing polymers in particulate form only and is directed towards polymers known as 'super absorbents', such as those used in disposable nappies and paper towels.

The concerns for water absorbing polymers are based on data showing that cancer was observed in a two-year inhalation study in rats on a high molecular weight (HMW) water-absorbing polyacrylate polymer.

Water-soluble and water dispersible polymers are not considered to be water absorbing polymers. Moreover, it is assumed that particles of these polymers are adequately cleared from the lungs by normal mucociliary clearance mechanisms after inhalation.