Baby’s super-hydrated skin absorbs all sorts of chemicals from disposable diapers, wipes and standard baby products.
One of the dangers of disposable diapers is that they all contain sodium polyacrylate (even the “eco-friendly” ones.) This is the chemical added to the inner pad of a disposable to make it super-absorbent; these are the small, shiny, gelatinous crystals you will sometimes find during diaper changing. When wet, it turns into a gel that can:
- Absorb up to 100 times its weight in water
- Stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions
- Cause skin irritations, and reportedly many serious health consequences
Most disposable diapers also contain dioxin. This is a chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process. Dioxin is carcinogenic and has been linked to birth defects, skin disease, liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals. Dioxin is banned in many countries, but not in Canada.
Other chemicals have been routinely identified in many brands of disposable diapers including:
- Methyl cinnamate
Disposables Cause Rashes
The super-absorbent qualities of disposable diapers are not really the blessing they seem to be. Super-absorbent disposables can:
- Facilitate less diaper changing from parents; this leads to prolonged exposure to bacteria and ammonia
- Reduce air circulation and pull the natural moisture out of baby's skin; this causes skin cracking and irritation
- Raise the temperature of a baby boy’s scrotum above body temperature; this can hinder normal testicle development, according to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Widespread diaper rash is a relatively new phenomenon that surfaced in tandem with the widespread use of disposable diapers. While rashes can be caused by a variety of problems (food allergies, yeast, etc.), the majority of these rashes come from contact allergies to diaper and wipe chemicals and dyes, lack of air, higher diaper temperatures, and infrequent changing because diapers feel dry when they are saturated with urine.
With cloth diapers, when it is wet it feels wet inside! It is for this same reason that using cloth diapers facilitates earlier potty learning. Frequent changing, in addition to the cool, chemical-free breathable fabric of cloth diapers, significantly reduces diaper rashes.