Play it safe: Picking a safe and non-toxic disposable diaper for baby June 09, 2015 04:14

Your baby wears her diaper constantly against the most intimate parts of her delicate skin; yet, you'll be surprised to learn what harmful chemicals are allowed to go into these diapers unnoticed! 

Here's what to look out for when buying a disposable diaper to keep your baby safe and healthy (and dry, of course).

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Top 3 offenders often found in disposable diapers -

1.  Chlorine

Many disposable diapers are bleached with chlorine to make them look clean and white, leaving behind trace amounts of dioxins as a byproduct. Dioxins are persistent environmental pollutants that can cause an array of health problems including developmental delays, damage to the immune system, interference to hormonal function. And they’ve been classified as a likely human carcinogen (a substance capable of causing cancer). Even if dioxins don’t wind up in the diapers after the bleaching process, they still end up in the water supply as an environmental pollutant. Personally, I prefer my diapers to actually be clean than to just look it. If you’re with me, go chlorine-free for your baby’s diapers. 

2.  Perfumes

I don’t know what perfumes in diapers actually do for you or your baby, but I do know that they often contain potentially dangerous synthetic chemicals.

Thanks to US trade secret protection, manufacturers are permitted to use the word “fragrance” or “parfum” on their product label to mask the actual ingredients making up the scent. But typical fragrance ingredients have been linked to allergies, asthma, respiratory and skin irritation (including diaper rash). [I know every parent practically takes diaper rash as a given, but kiddo (with what his sensitive skin and mild eczema) has never had a single episode of diaper rash (ever) in his two years of being diapered in cloth and eco-disposables.]

Resist the scent and pick fragrance-free instead. 

3.  Phthalates

Phthalates are a family of chemicals added to plastics to soften them for increased flexibility, and are commonly found in the outer liner of disposable diapers. Because they are not chemically bound to the plastics they are added to by design, they are continuously released from the plastic into the surroundings.

Now, paediatric experts are increasingly getting concerned about these substances and here’s why you should be too. Phthalates have been associated with potential toxic effects to the developing endocrine and reproductive systems, to which infants are particularly vulnerable.

Sniffing out which diaper’s got phthalates isn’t easy though because they aren’t required to be disclosed; so if you’re concerned, go with a brand that actually specifies that there are no phthalates in their diapers.

Now, before we round this off, it’s probably good to discuss Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) here too. These are the gel crystals found in the core of disposable diapers to give them their absorbency. While there is no credible evidence showing that SAP is unsafe to humans, many parents have taken a cautious stance towards them, especially upon discovering the chemical gel on their baby’s bums (yes, SAP leakage does happen – and more frequently than is desired)!

Unfortunately, SAP is found in basically every disposable diaper. If you want to avoid them entirely, you would have to cloth-diaper (which we at Pur’itsy recommend for true eco-friendliness!). The next best thing would be to find a disposable that is capable of containing the SAP effectively. For that, look for quality and durability in the diaper materials.

It's not just the diaper you need to be careful about.  Find out why you should also pay attention to the bottle you are giving your child here