A guide published by the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia cites a study which found that diapers release volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). These VOCs such as toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene have been linked to adverse health effects in humans with long-term exposure.
In addition, disposable diapers not labeled as “unbleached” or “bleached with peroxide” contain dioxin, which comes about as a by-product of the bleaching process. The Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that trace amounts of dioxin are present on disposables. Dioxin is carcinogenic (cancer causing) and according to the EPA, dioxin is known to cause damage to the:
- central nervous system
When released into the environment, dioxin can accumulate in humans and animals.
Another potential chemical danger is sodium polyacrylate, the super absorbent gel that allows your baby to go 5 to 7 hours in a diaper. The gel can hold up to 100-300 times its weight in water. Some experts have pointed out this substance in tampons as the possible cause of toxic shock syndrome, and others claim this toxin is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets, and causes severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies. Sodium polyacrylate can also result in symptoms such as:
- coughing and shortness of breath if inhaled
- nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested
- redness and pain in the eyes
- redness, itching and pain on the skin.
Losing Natural Resources
More than 200,000 trees are depleted annually in the manufacture of disposable diapers for babies in the U.S. alone, according to The Good Human, a website on environmentalism. Furthermore, it takes an astonishing 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil every year to make diapers. What this means is that disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, two times more water and three times more energy to make than cloth diapers. Besides depleting natural resources, manufacturing disposable diapers also utilizes non-renewable energy sources.
This is your chance to make a green eco-friendly money saving decision. Use Cloth Diapers and Save the Earth – it’s your personal contribution - and a truly significant one. When your baby grows up, you can proudly say you did your part.
For more information on how you can save money through cloth diapers, click here.