Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D - 'Dis Damsel's Discussing Disgusting Disposable Diapers

Giggle...yeah I know the title is silly...but I couldn't resist.

So today's topic is disposable diapers. The truth I've discovered about the dangers to health and the eco system, and why I won't ever look back from cloth!

Unless you practice Elimination Communication (the link brings you to an engaging post about EC and a moms, reluctant, but successful journey int ECing her daughter) your child will be in a diaper 24/7 minus a few minutes for baths and naked booty time if you allow it, for as long as 2 1/2 - 3 years, longer for special needs children and often longer for night time struggles.

So have you given any thought on what that diaper you wrap around your baby's sensitive bottom is made of? How in the world it soaks up so much urine when it is so thin when taken out of the package? What those gel beads are that cover your baby's privates? Are they Toxic? Harmful? Surely not!

I didn't even consider it to be a problem until after I had already started looking into cloth for financial reasons! But when I began to notice articles everywhere on the environmental and health reasons to cloth diaper, my decision to cloth diaper was set in concrete, no one could budge me, in spite of the financial obstacles I faced getting started!

Here is a one of the first articles I ran into Autumn Becks post "Are Disposable Diapers Really That Bad?"
It really opened my eyes to the health risk wrapping my baby's sensitive bottom in a disposable diaper 24/7 for about 2-3years with all its chemicals (Dioxin and Sodium Polyacrylate +) some of which are know to be a carcinogen. Another article by Autumn Beck that goes in a little more detail on these Chemicals. Here are a few other articles that also helped...a, b, c. An important article for all parents who are planning on circumcising their son.

Ecological reasons:
It is estimated that 1 disposable diaper takes up to 500 YEARS to fully decompose...and their not even sure that it will ever fully decompose.
If that wasn't bad enough, we are throwing away human waste! Even a babies poop is full of germs, and if your baby is taking meds for any reason those will seep into the ground (once the diaper is decomposed enough for the poo to escape). It could seep into untreated aquifers and well systems. It could be picked up by plants, that are then eaten by wild life, or even us!
Here are a few articles I've found about the environmental impact disposable diaper have!
Living Strong, and again, and yet again.
Fox News (not sure how I feel about some of the conclusions but it is another view to consider)

Fact: Americans throw away enough disposable diaper each year to stretch from the moon and back at least seven times. -Julia Butterfly Hill

So what do you think? Do/did you use disposables or cloth? If you use(d) disposables, has this made you rethink that decision?

P.S. So sorry this was posted so late getting out...the kids were especially difficult today, and I struggled cutting this post down to a manageable size. I hope it is always I'm happy to clear up anything that is illegible and answer any questions! 


  1. I've wanted to use cloth diapers for a long time. My brother and I were both cloth diapered, since disposables in that era weren't quite what they are today. I've heard a number of people claiming cloth diapers aren't really saving the environment, since you use a lot of water and other resources to wash the diapers. I really doubt the amount of water and energy used to wash diapers is anywhere near as wasteful as throwing out thousands of diapers with harmful ingredients!

    To this day, I have a small brown scar on my upper right thigh, in what I think is a dog shape, but others think looks like an aeroplane, from when my dad accidentally poked me with a diaper pin. I hope I never make that mistake with my own babies!

    1. While there is some truth to the argument of water usage,
      There are so many factors to consider.

      If a baby is changed an average of 6x a day, for 2.5 years that is 5,600 disposable diapers for 1 baby.Each diaper can only be used 1 time, then wrapped around itself tightly, the placed in a plastic bag, sometime in a small plastic bag the inside a larger one, thrown into a land fill, buried and left to (eventually) decompose. Now times that by the millions of kids around the world who use at least 1 disposable a day.

      Once it does start decomposing there are a lot of chemicals and other substances in it that could be harmful if it leaks into an aquifer. Especially since most aquifers aren't treated and many people get their untreated well water from these aquifers. Back when we had well water, we had to test it about 1 time a year or so to make sure that it wasn't being contaminated buy the local land fill.

      It is also a concern that so many special needs adults and elderly are having their disposable diapers thrown away without emptying out the poop into a toilet so that it can be taken to the water treatment plant. The elderly and special needs are often on a whole host of drugs and meds that have found their way into water systems through their improperly discarded waste.

      A cloth diaper does need washing, but a prefold should last through at least 3 children if not more, then it can be used as a cleaning rag, and eventually will be thrown away but once it is thrown away its decompose time is barely a fraction of the time for a disposable, and it will be compost not contaminates. and it won't be covered in pee or poop...probably lol.
      So while a cloth diaper might take up a lot of energy and water to wash, the health benefits not only to the child but the community as a whole are a huge benefit that in my opinion out weigh the water and energy consumption.

      Hmm sorry this is so long...nearly a blog post all its own...but I hope this answers your questions!

      As for the pins, most diapers are fastened by snaps or Velcro now, though the ones that aren't can be fastened by a snappi! No pins necessary, though some still choose them!


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