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Danger of Disposable Diapers

By and on March 21, 2013
Screen shot 2013 03 21 at 3.03.56 PM 300x336 - Danger of Disposable Diapers

Young or old, most people will use diapers at some point in their lives. Among diaper users are millions of babies, handicapped people, truck drivers, casino goers, surgeons, and the elderly. This totals around 40 million users of diapers in North America alone. With all the consumer safety guidelines it seems that if they are available for sale they must be safe, right? Everything on the market is so heavily regulated for safety and contents; however diapers seem to have escaped any real scrutiny.

Almost every medical, baby and health product on the market is licenced, tested, regulated or controlled in some way. It seems that every year numerous products are recalled from the shelf. Each product has detailed ingredients and content information so that consumers can discern what the purest and cleanest products are for their loved ones. This includes food, cosmetics, textiles and even baby wipes. However, there is one gaping hole in this type of disclosure and that is with disposable diapers. There seems to be no disclosure as to what is in the standard disposable diaper and this includes  "flushable," and "eco-friendly" alternatives. It is high time a little of this information is brought to light.


The wonder of disposables lies in a chemical called sodium polyacrylate. This powdery chemical instantly absorbs water upon contact and turns into a crystal like gel. The long term effects of these gels are unknown. This has somehow translated to claims of safety. Unfortunately, this may be far from the truth.

As with most single use items, diapers are designed to hold up for a few hours and are constructed of thin layers of materials. This means the absorbent gel rarely stays contained within the diaper. It can often make its way onto the skin. It looks like sugar and is often mistaken as excrement.

This gel has been linked to allergic reactions, severe irritation, asthma, oozing blood from the perineum and sacral areas, fever, vomiting and staph infections. It was banned from use in tampons in 1985, due to its link to toxic shock syndrome. It is toxic to digest. People in factories who manufacture these diapers suffer from many complaints. Slow healing, fatigue, weight loss top the list.


Chlorine is also found in disposable diapers. It breaks down bacteria, oils and is a skin irritant. It's even been associated with skin rashes like eczema. Several studies have also linked chlorine and chlorinated by-products to various forms of cancer.

Unfortunately, the list does not end here. Dioxin, a highly toxic pollutant, is a by-product of the paper bleaching process which uses chlorine gas and is present in disposable diapers. This is how they obtain their super bright white colour. Dioxin is among the most toxic chemicals known to science. It is a well-known cancer causing carcinogen. It has been especially linked to testicular cancer. The EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) lists it as the most toxic of all cancer linked chemicals. According to the EPA report, there appear to be no safe level of exposure to dioxin. Even in small quantities dioxin causes birth defects, severe reproductive and developmental problems. Dioxin has been banned for environmental use in the U.S. since 1976 and is among the "dirty dozen" toxic chemicals named for global phase-out under a United Nations Convention signed by the US.


The next chemical is TBT (Tributyltin). TBT compounds are considered highly toxic chemicals which have negative effects on humans and the environment. TBT is a highly persistent organic pollutant. It is best known for its contamination to marine life which has caused irreversible damage. TBT has also been liked to obesity in humans, as it triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells.

You know the old saying that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Disposable diapers happen to fall into this category. The chemicals are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the long term impact of disposables.3


Laurie Diwakar, BA is a mother of three with more than 11 years of experience in the natural health industry. As a motivated entrepreneur she has committed the last five years to developing and testing products that work for you, your family and the environment. Get some washable gear for Rearz! For more information on cloth diapers visit www.rearz.ca or www.nhdcana

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