If you are soon to step in the adventurous world of parenting, you will be discussing many things, but on the top-diapers.
But did you take out time for even once, to think that are these safe? Here, I’m referring to the disposable ones, of course. It is kind of disappointing to know that the parents-to-be never think about the possible outcomes of the disposable diapers’ use.
On average, a baby uses about 8 to 10 diapers a day. That’s too much, isn’t it? Apart from being hazardous for the baby, it could be a threat to the environment in the near future. As a fact, a single diaper takes around 500 years to be decomposed. Do the maths, how much harm could be done to the environment by the diapers of only one baby?
Which Chemicals to Avoid in Diapers
Fragrances and Dyes
Volatile Organic Compounds
Little do you know that these chemicals are extremely dangerous for your little one. Let’s have a look at their effects on the body.
Sadly, it is not required for fragrance manufacturers to display the ingredients on their labels, but they have much worse effects on our bodies. The word ‘fragrance’ written in the ingredients on diapers’ pack might mean a number of harmful chemicals. These include chemicals that can cause severe rashes, allergic reactions, hormonal issues, nervous problems, reproductive toxicity, and even cancer.
One of these chemicals is Phthalates that are endocrine disruptors; these are added to make the fragrance last longer. In addition to hormonal disruption, these chemicals cause developmental and reproductive problems and behavioral issues too. Hence, it is so important to read the label and avoid diapers that contain fragrance or phthalates.
While attractive colored-patterns and designs on the diapers can be eye-catching, these can actually be harmful to the baby. These dyes are made up of petroleum and also heavy metals. When it comes in contact with the skin, it can cause skin reactions and allergy. Therefore, either go for diapers that are dye-free or uses dyes that are free from heavy metals.
Some diapers may contain lotion to keep the baby safe from rashes. However, the truth is that this petroleum-based or even plant-based lotions can cause skin irritation too. Hence no need for such diapers when we can choose a safe lotion for the baby ourselves.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Other chemicals added in the disposable diapers are Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that include chemicals, namely, xylene, ethylbenzene, and toluene. Since they are of volatile-nature, they evaporate in the air and enter into our body as we inhale that air. They damage the body’s respiratory system, immune system, kidneys, liver, etc.
Tributyltin, abbreviated as TBT, is another harmful chemical that is used in disposable diapers. Its adverse effects are endocrine disruption and skin problems. Apart from being hazardous to the human body, it is non-environmental friendly as it is a serious threat to aquatic life.
Polyethylene can be used in the lining and outer sheet of the diaper. Its film serves to be waterproof when used in the outer sheet. It is toxic when in vapor or liquid form and can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Therefore, an alternative that is used to polyethylene or petroleum-based plastic is polyreactive acid (PLA). It is a plant-based plastic that is biodegradable and thus safe.
Sodium Polyacrylate or SAP is a chemical compound that gives diapers the quality of being super absorbent and leakage-free. Having said that, this chemical causes problems related to the eye, skin, and respiratory system. However, it is hard to find the diapers that don’t contain any amount of SAP or have any alternative to it.
Another chemical to be added in the ‘To-avoid’ list is dioxin- a harmful by-product of bleach. It is a well-known carcinogen. And other than that, it causes skin issues and immune, nervous, and reproductive problems. So, try your best to avoid bleached diapers and go for diapers with ECF (Elemental Chlorine-Free) or better, TCF (Total Chlorine-Free) pulp. This way, your baby will be safe from direct skin-contact with harmful chemicals.
Do quite a lot of research about these before your baby’s birth so that when he or she steps in, you would know what’s best for your little one. And not to mention the environment too. There are now many brands that are using better formulae in diapers, replacing harmful chemicals with alternatives. Having said that, it is much difficult to find a brand that manufactures perfect organic diapers (free from every toxic chemical) and that too in your budget. But you can still find a better one; less harmful chemicals and eco-friendly.
Be a satisfied parent of a happy baby!