As parents, we want to keep our kids safe and healthy. We buy BPA-free bottles, hormone-free dairy and child-proof our homes. There are, however, other hidden dangers that parents might not know about. For example, many parents choose disposable diapers and pull-ups without realizing the toxic threat they can pose to their babies and toddlers.
Here’s the down and dirty on what dangerous chemicals can be found in disposable diapers and pull-ups:
Many baby diapers and pull-ups are bleached with chlorine, resulting in remaining traces of dioxins. According to the World Health Organization, dioxins are “persistent environmental pollutants” that can cause an array of health problems including developmental delays, damaged immunity, hormone interference, and certain cancers.
Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP)
The absorbent center in disposable diapers and pull-ups is made from SAP. Once used in tampons, SAP was responsible for the cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome associated with the products. SAP also irritates skin, can cause staph infections, and may be related to other health problems, as well.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Many disposable diapers and pull-ups release VOCs such as ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene. According to the EPA, some VOCs are carcinogens. Others can cause neurological problems, eye irritation, and decreased immunity.
There are a variety of different dying agents used in diapers and pull-ups, ranging from indicators informing the parent of wetness, to colored patterns for improved appearances. Infants are showing allergic reactions to these diapers, and parents of these children are typically unable to identify the diapers as the cause. It is not uncommon for steroid creams to be used to treat these allergic reactions, with neither the doctor nor parent suspecting involvement by chemical dyes.
Luckily, as parents, we have lots of product options available for our children. Look for diaper options that are cloth or that are dye-free, perfume-free, chlorine-free, and so on. For potty training, choose cotton training underwear over pull-ups to get the job done and keep your kiddo safe.