view fof baby with feet in air showing their diaper

Why Use Cloth? Part 3: Healthy Bottoms

It is impossible to read the news without hearing about how chemicals are affecting our health. Those stories hit home for parents, avoiding chemicals whenever possible while pregnant, eating organic whenever possible, to make sure little one is healthy. But what about what we put on them once they are born? 

Chemicals in Disposable Diapers

While disposable diapers offer parents convenience, making them a popular consumer choice. Have you wondered how they accomplish this? With chemicals.

Have you ever looked closely at a diaper, once it came out of its package? Observing how thin, lightweight and after your baby has worn it, noting how heavy and how the core grows as it absorbs liquid. 

Disposable diaper manufacturers often advertise the benefits of their diapers, emphasize staying dry longer, but don't talk about the makeup of the diaper in terms of what is in it to give it those abilities.

What is this gel that makes the core absorbent? This gel is called sodium polyacrylate, which can absorb 100 times its weight in liquid to hold in moisture

A review of its Material Safety Data Sheet, reveals that sodium polyacrylate is "a potential respiratory tract irritant”, "causing burning, drying, itching and other discomforts,  such as reddening of the eyes," not to mention lung irritation”. It recommends to "avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Wear chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and chemical-resistant apron". 

Diaper companies are not required by law to list the ingredients in their products, but they are thought to contain phthalates, styrene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and dioxins, have been linked to adverse health effects in humans with long-term exposure.

Disposable diapers often contain dyes and dioxin, which is formed as a by-product of the chlorine bleaching process. Even diapers that are marked as being "chlorine free", do not escape this scrutiny either. At first glance, they appear to look like a healthier option, found in many health food stores, leading one to assume they are a safer option. However, an investigative report uncovered that they are purposely bleached to look brown. 

Babies are vulnerable, given their developing nervous, reproductive systems, and hand to mouth behaviors, where it has been reported that this inner material has been known to attach to baby's genitals which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. Studies revealed that by increasing absorbency, absorbing liquid for a long duration of time without replacement cultivates an environment of growth of toxin-producing bacteria.

Diaper Rashes

Disposable diapers manufacturers proudly boast that their diapers are good upwards to 12 hours. before changing. Such claims are nothing more than leaving false impressions for parents, that fewer diaper changes are necessarily better!  

Unlike disposable diapers that are mostly plastic, cloth diaper material is made from natural materials, that’s breathable, entailing more diaper changes. Contrary to what manufacturers would have you believe, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The common reason for diaper rashes for babies is the excessive moisture, the inks, dyes, and fragrance found in disposable diapers, coupled with the lack of air against their skin. 


Our priority is our children's health. With cloth diapers, parents can feel good about restricting usage of dangerous chemicals; and are afforded the ability to tailor their baby's diaper to the desired absorbency levels as needed, without resorting to the use of any chemicals.

Evening selecting laundry detergents free of harmful chemicals (shout out to Nellie's Soda Laundry), you've reduced a lot of potential toxins from your child's environment. 

Be sure to check out our last post in this Part 4 series - Cloth Diapers are Remarkable.

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