Curious as to what makes up a disposable diaper? It's a little scary.
On The Outside
What is polyethylene film? Well, polyethylene is your basic plastic, so the outer layer of most disposable diapers is made with either a plastic film or a composite of plastic and nonwoven material. ("Nonwoven" means that the fabric was made by bonding fibers with a chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent solution.)
Chlorine is used in diapers to bleach them white. The result is a byproduct known as dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals. Highly carcinagenic, dioxins have been linked to skin reactions as well as altered liver function and impairments to the immune, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Dioxins are also a dangerous pollutant harming our planet.
Dyes can be used, too, on diapers with prints, and the adhesive closures on diapers can also cause irritation.
On The Inside
Against your baby's bottom the inner liner of most disposable diapers is made with nonwoven material bleached white with chlorine. Inside the diaper is a core made with nonwoven material, wood pulp, and a variety of chemicals. Chemicals such as:
- Sodium Polyacrylate - Also known as Super Absorbent Polymers or SAP gel, sodium polyacrylate's purpose is to absorb fluids. It used to be in women's tampons but was removed over toxic shock syndrome concerns. It has been used in disposable diapers for the last 20 years, yet there has not been enough research done on the long-term health effects. It should be noted that some diaper companies give their own name to sodium polyacrylate, so check those diapers closely. Pampers refers to it as absorbent gelling material (AGM).
- Tributyl-Tin (TBT) - A toxic pollutant that is used in preventing and killing bacteria. Because TBT is not biodegradable, it remains in the environment after the diaper is tossed out and starts to break down. TBT has been especially harmful to aquatic life, disrupting endocrine systems and working it's way into our food chain. In humans, TBT can trigger genes that promote fat cells, causing obesity.
- There is also this strange chemical cocktail of ingredients known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. Diaper companies don't really explain why these chemicals are needed in the diapers. They can cause respiratory irritation, headaches, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. They are also linked to cancers.
At Franklin Goose we have The Honest Company disposable diapers and Broody Chick disposable diapers available for purchase. We have chosen these two companies because we believe that they offer parents a disposable diaper that is much safer and more eco-friendly than other companies. And of course if you would like a different option we have all of our wonderful organic and reusable cloth diapers.