Friday, April 29

what I didn't know about disposable diapers

Unless you're into elimination communication, which is intriguing but a little too crunchy even for me, diapers are a necessity for babies and toddlers. I had seen many mentions online about cloth diapering but as most of us do, I discarded the idea almost immediately. I thought it must be a lot of work, messy and inconvenient. Well the truth is, many conveniences of our day are actually much less beneficial than we are conditioned to believe. 

When Iris was born, her tiny bottom was quickly packaged into a Pampers Newborn Swaddlers diaper. I dutifully changed her every two hours, not giving much thought to what was constantly wrapped against her brand new skin. Three months later, I started to discover what I didn't know about disposables.

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Iris in a disposable diaper.
The bleaching process during the manufacturing of disposables creates a byproduct called dioxin, which is listed by the EPA as the most toxic cancer causing chemical there is. It is banned in most countries, but not in the US. Some diapers may even contain trace amounts of the chemical. It can also cause reproductive and developmental problems, hormonal imbalances and more.

They contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) which is a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. 

Research published in the year 2000 shows that disposables increase the scrotal temperature of baby boys, and prolonged use can impact sperm production. In another study, rats were exposed to out of the package disposable diapers and reacted with eye and throat irritation and respiratory problems. 

Sodium polyacrylate was banned from use in tampons in 1985 due to its link to toxic shock syndrome. It is a gel like polymer which absorbs large amounts of liquid and creates an environment for toxin producing bacteria. It still exists in disposable diapers. If you've ever seen the crystal-like gel inside a disposable, that is sodium polyacrylate. No studies have been done to see the long term effects of this chemical existing against children's bottoms during the years they are in diapers.

This horrific list is my number one reason for switching to cloth diapers. Even when I switched to a "natural" brand of diapers thinking it would be better for Iris' health, I found little pieces of sodium polyacrylate gel sticking to my daughter's genitals while changing her. It truly disturbed me. 

There are also other impacts from disposable diapers ranging from your wallet to the health of our planet. However, in my mind and my life, it's most important to know that my sweet baby is no longer exposed to these toxic chemicals. It is simply one of the best parenting decisions I have made thus far.

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Iris loves the fluff!
I would strongly encourage everyone to try cloth diapers! There are many different trial programs available online, which is how we chose the diapers that work best for us. They are better on every level; I wouldn't go back to disposables for anything! 

Coming up, posts about the types of cloth diapers available and how in the heck it all works! It's much easier than you imagine!

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