This is a question I’ve asked myself again and again as I prepare for our little munchkin to arrive.
In one year, a typical infant will go through roughly 2,000 diapers. That’s a lot of changes and a lot of money. Diapers are one of the top consumer disposable products, and take up 4% of landfills in the United States.
Typical disposable diapers contain a ton of harmful chemicals including traces of Dioxin, a toxic by-product from the paper-bleaching process. Dioxin is considered a carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical), and the EPA considers it one of the most toxic of all carcinogens. It has been banned for use in most countries, except for the USA.
Typical disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate, which is an absorbent polymer that turns into a gel-like substance when wet. This is very similar to the substance that was used in tampons until it was discovered that it increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome in the early 80’s.
Another harmful chemical contained in disposable diapers is Tributyl-tin, which is a toxic pollutant that has been linked to causing hormonal problems in humans and animals.
In our household we have made a concerted effort to reduce harsh chemicals in every way possible long before we became pregnant, so I certainly wasn’t about to introduce them to my baby.