2 Reasons why disposable diapers are concerning
Disposable diapers subject your baby to health risks and increased incidence of diaper rash
Baby skin is very delicate, so cloth diapering really is better for baby. Would you like wearing paper underwear? One study reports that only 7% of cloth diapered babies experience diaper rash compared with 78% of disposable diapered babies. Why is this?
There are many chemicals found in disposable diapers that are troubling… to say the least! Baby bums can be very sensitive to the harmful chemicals in disposable diapers. Many times what we think is a simple diaper rash can actually be a reaction to the chemicals in disposable diapers. Sodium Polyacrylate is a super absorbent gel that shows up as little crystals on your baby’s skin. It has been found in urinary tracts of babies and causes severe diaper rashes. A similar substance used in tampons was pulled from the market in the 1980s due to increased risk of toxic shock syndrome. This chemical has been linked to respiratory problems and skin irritations.
A study published in the Archives of Environmental Health in 1999, found that disposable diapers release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene. VOCs are linked to toxic health effects over time and with a high level of exposure, including cancer and brain damage. The same researchers found that mice exposed to chemicals released by disposable diapers were more likely to have irritated airways than mice exposed to emissions from cloth diapers. These effects were increased during repeat exposures. The authors suggested that disposable diapers may cause “asthma-like” reactions.
Disposable diapers contain other harmful ingredients as well…
Dioxin is an extremely toxic by-product of paper bleaching. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic cancer-linked chemical.
Tributyl-tin is a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
Dyes found in some disposables are known to damage the central nervous system, kidneys and liver.
What is also concerning is the fact that disposable diaper manufacturers are not forthcoming with information about what is in their product. If you visit the web sites of the popular disposable diaper manufacturers you will find little information about what exactly is in a disposable diaper. Instead you read information about why they are not compelled to make this information available to you…the consumer. This article is worth reading…
Disposable diapers are damaging to the environment in many ways…
Deforestation adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of all cars and trucks on the world’s roads… and over 1 billion trees are cut down each year to produce disposable diapers. Cars and trucks account for about 14 percent of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute upwards of 15 percent to deforestation.
“Any realistic plan to reduce global warming pollution sufficiently—and in time—to avoid dangerous consequences must rely in part on preserving tropical forests,” reports Environmental Defense Fund.
Here are some other alarming facts…
- Canadians throw out 1.7 billion disposable diapers each year
- The raw materials required to keep one baby in disposable diapers for one year include more than 136 kg of wood, 23 kg of petroleum and 9 kg of chlorine
- Disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, 2 times more water and 3 times more energy to make than cloth diapers
- It takes up to 500 years for disposable diapers to decompose
- By using cloth diapers, you will prevent roughly 8,000 diapers from going to the landfill for 500 years!
The environmental debate for disposables has always been that cloth diapering uses more energy for washing and drying so cloth has the same environmental impact. That may have been an argument before the advent of energy saving washers and dryers but no more. At Bear Bottoms we use high-efficiency washers and dryers. Our washers are front-loading extractors, which mean very little water is actually used. The cleaning process essentially extracts the “bad stuff” through g-force, then the cleaners are dispensed and the drop and spin cleans 400 diapers per load with the same amount of water used through 1 conventional load in a top-loading washer in your home.