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The Real Dangers of Disposable Nappies
The majority of the western world use disposables nappies on their infants, but how many really know what these nappies are made from? How many are aware that the chemicals in them pose potential risks to their most precious possessions?
We all know that modern disposable nappies are produced using valuable resources such as petroleum based plastics, and wood pulp, as well as adhesives and a host of chemical products-as parents, it is our duty to carefully evaluate these chemicals and assess their potential consequences.
Taken directly from a top branded disposable nappy namufacturers website, they list some of the components that make up their nappies:
'The inside absorbent padding on [our] nappies is made of wood cellulose fibre, a fluffy paper-like material, and a super-absorbent material called polyacrylate. Other materials used include polypropylene, polyester, and polyethylene. These are all synthetic materials designed to enhance the fit of the nappy and the help stop leaks. The elastic strands in all [our] nappies are made of synthetic rubber to provide a snug but gentle fit for baby. In addition, [our] nappies feature an all-over breathable outer cover''
This 'list' is described in a promotional manner, however these sythetic substances and plastic ingredients are hardly reassuring when you take a closer look....
Due to its extreme absorbency, this chemical has been found to draw moisture from the skin, causing severe nappy rash and bleeding of perineal and scrotal tissue. Sodium Polyacrylate is also lethal to cats when inhaled.
Dioxin- The most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals known to man, and a by-product of the paper bleaching process. Dioxin has been known to cause birth defects, skin disease and liver damage.
Xylene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene & Ispropylene - These are some of the chemicals which were reported to be released from disposable nappies in a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health (1999). Anderson Laboratories exposed lab mice to various brands of disposable nappies and found them to suffer from asthma like symptoms, including bronchoconstriction and eye, nose and throat irritation as a direct result. Xylene and Ethylbenzene are suspected endocrine, neuro and respiratory toxins; Styrene is a suspected carcinogen and respiratory toxin; Ispropylene is a suspected neurotoxin.
Nappy Rash- Reported instances of nappy rash rose from 7.1% to a whopping 61% with the increased use of disposable nappies according to a review of Proctor and Gambles own studies (The Landbank Consultancy Limited, 1991). How very handy for Nappy Rash Cream manufacturers!
So, we can see that the petroleum based plastic and wood pulp compounds of the disposable nappy are harmful enough to us and our world, but adding chemicals such as Sodium Polycrylate and Dioxin into the mix, as well as allergy causing irritants like fragrances and deodorants, we could potientally have serious problems. There has currently been no where near enough studies assessing the long term risks of the modern disposable nappy- especially because they are ever changing, and always being 'added to'- so really, is it worth taking that risk?
So what are the alternatives?
Eco-Friendly disposable nappies. Most eco-disposable brands are free from all unnecessary chemicals including lotions, dyes, perfumes, phthlates and chlorine.
Reusable Nappies- Reusable nappies contain none of the chemicals found in disposables http://www.fill-
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Also publishers of ReallyPants.com-