You could imagine using cloth diapers only for ecological reasons, however by using cloth diapers, you first take care of your child's health.

Indeed, the components of a disposable diaper are kept secret by the manufacturers. Several analysis have shown that a disposable diaper can contain over 50 chemical compounds. They are essentially made of :

  • wood pulp also called fluff pulp, used for sanitary products like female hygiene and diapers, can be bleached with chlorine (ECF) or without (TCF).

  • plastics (polyethylene, polypropylene, synthetic rubber material, etc. which can all be sources of allergies)

  • super-absorbent polymer (SAP): a gel that can absorb up to 80 times its weight in liquid which results in dry skin, encouraging the application of creams

  • traces of dioxin: they have been found as a result of the chlorine whitening process used in the manufacturing process. Molecules of dioxin are stored mainly in fat cells and can remain there up to 30 years. Dioxin was classified as cancerous by the WHO.

  • various chemical compound to hide smells with perfumes and can cause allergenic reactions when in contact with baby’s skin and cause acute respiratory effects.

  • tributyltin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals

A good summary of the chemical components effects and the research associated can be found here.

Given the built of a disposable diaper, it does not let baby’s skin breath. On average, the temperature in the disposable diaper is one degree Celsius higher than in cloth diapers (38°C). The elevated temperature could be affecting the testicles development and fertility according to doctors.

As the disposable diaper is completely water and gas proof, it leaves no room for the ammonia vapor (residue from urine decomposition) to escape. This encourages bacteria proliferation which can cause or aggravate baby’s diaper rash.

On the other hand, the material used in the Sustain a Bum cloth diapers are much less aggressive for your baby’s bottom. Made out of polyester, they do not have any chemical smell compound, perfume or TBT and will let your baby’s skin breath while remaining waterproof thanks to its laminated polyester outer layer.

Sources material you may want to read

  • Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace.

  • Boiko, S. (1997). Diapers and diaper rashes. Dermatology Nursing. 2/1/1997.

  • Borkowski, S. (2004). Diaper rash care and management. Pediatric Nursing, 11/1/2004.

  • Campbell, R. et al. (1987). Clinical studies with disposable diapers. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 17: 978-987.

  • Gaunder, B. and E. Plummer. (1987). Diaper rash: managing and controlling a common problem in infants and toddlers. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 1: 26-34.

  • Greenpeace. New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble's Pampers: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products. 15 May 2000.

  • Kazzi, A.A. Pediatrics, Diaper Rash. eMedicine,

  • The Landbank Consultancy Limited. A Review of Procter & Gamble's Environmental Balances for Disposable and Re-useable Nappies. July 1991.

  • Seymour, J.L. et al (1987). Clinical effects of diaper types on the skin of normal infants and infants with atopic dermatitis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 17: 988-997.

  • Shin, H.T. (2005). Diaper dermatitis that does not quit. Dermatologic Therapy, 18: 124-135.

  • Stein, H. (1982). Incidence of diaper rash when using cloth and disposable diapers. The Journal of Pediatrics, 101: 721-723.

  • Tanino, J. et al. (1959). The relationship of perinatal dermatitis to fecal pH. The Journal of Pediatrics, 54: 793-800.

  • Weiner, F. (1979). The relationship of diapers to diaper rashes in the one-month-old infant. The Journal of Pediatrics, 95: 422-424.

  • Wilson, P.A. et al. (1990). Diaper Performance: Maintenance of Healthy Skin. Pediatric Dermatology, 7: 179-184.

  • Wong, D.L. et al. (1992). Diapering Choices: A Critical Review of the Issues. Pediatric Nursing, 18: 41-54.

Gabrielle LodsComment