Diaper Safety and Health
- Are diapers safe for my baby?
- What skin health issues are there when using disposable diapers?
- Are there additional ways that diaper safety is established?
- Do disposable diapers make it harder to potty-train a toddler since they don’t feel the wetness as much?
How Diapers Are Made
- How are disposable diapers made?
- What are the parts of a diaper design?
- I have noticed crystals and gel in the diapers. What are these materials, and are they harmful?
- Are the raw materials used in disposable diapers safe for the environment?
Diapers and the Environment
- What are some of the key issues with disposable diapers and the environment?
- How do diapers impact solid waste disposal?
- What steps have been taken to protect the environment?
- Has the environmental impact of diapers been assessed from “Cradle to Grave”?
- How do cloth versus disposable diapers affect the environment?
- Are the materials used in disposable diapers depleting our forests?
- Is the pulp bleached?
- Tell me about the bleaching of pulp used in diapers and chlorine.
- I have read that the chlorine used to bleach the fluff pulp used in disposable diapers creates the cancer causing chemical dioxin.
Diaper Safety and Health
Yes. Disposable diapers undergo thorough safety review process which evaluates both the materials used in and design of diapers. This review demonstrates that diapers are safe when used as intended. More information
What skin health issues are there when using disposable diapers?
Disposable diapers can help improve skin health and decrease the chance of diaper rash by keeping urine away from skin when diapers are changed frequently. More information
Are there additional ways that diaper safety is established?
Additional studies may be completed depending how a diaper is changing. This includes monitoring and analyzing trends of health and safety-related comments. More information
Do disposable diapers make it harder to potty-train a toddler since they don’t feel the wetness as much?
No, a child’s readiness for potty training is governed by their own development. Most children show signs of readiness to begin using the toilet between 18 months and 3 years of age. These include staying dry for longer periods of time, having regular bowel movements and being uncomfortable with dirty diapers. In addition, most parents will be able to tell when their child is about to urinate or have a bowel movement by his/her facial expression, posture or what he/she says. Diaper manufacturers make products specially designed to help toddlers and parents make a successful transition to the toilet.
How Diapers Are Made
How are disposable diapers made?
Disposable diapers are made on specialized equipment from common materials having a long history of safe use in everyday consumer products. More information
What are the parts of a diaper design?
Diapers have two major parts: 1) a core where urine and liquid feces are absorbed and stored, and 2) a chassis which holds the core together and ensures that a diaper fits properly. A detailed explanation and diagram can be found here.
I have noticed crystals and gel in the diapers. What are these materials, and are they harmful?
The crystals and gel are forms of the superabsorbent polymer used in the diaper to trap wetness away from baby’s skin. Superabsorbent diapers offer significant skin health benefits; by trapping wetness away from baby’s skin they help keep the skin drier and healthier. This material turns liquid into a gel, helping to prevent leakage. Occasionally, you may see small beads of gel that escape from the diaper or on baby’s skin, but the gel is nontoxic and will not harm the baby.
The superabsorbent material, also known as polyacrylate absorbents, is part of a family of polymers that have extraordinary absorbency. The safety of superabsorbent material has been proven in over 400 consumer safety tests studying every way a person could come in contact with it – through skin contact, or a baby’s eating it out of normal curiosity. Each study has consistently demonstrated the safety of this material.
Are the raw materials used in disposable diapers safe for the environment?
Yes. All of the component materials in disposable diapers are safe for the environment. Diapers are made of materials that are used in a wide range of other consumer products normally found in households. They can be safely disposed in any common solid waste management system. More information
Diapers and the Environment
What are some of the key issues with disposable diapers and the environment?
These issues range across a wide variety of information, including environmental stewardship, landfills, and recycling assessment of a diaper’s life cycle. Discussion of these issues may be found here.
How do diapers impact solid waste disposal?
Diapers compose about 1.5 % of solid waste and are safe for landfills and other forms of disposal. Recycling, incineration, and composting are also issues that can affect solid waste disposal. A discussion can be found here.
What steps have been taken to protect the environment?
Innovative materials and designs have been implemented to reduce the weight of disposable diapers by 40% in recent years. Diaper performance has improved while generating less waste. More information
Has the environmental impact of diapers been assessed from “Cradle to Grave”?
Yes. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) show that there has been a significant decrease on a variety of environmental impacts. Details of the studies can be found here.
How do cloth versus disposable diapers affect the environment?
All types of diapers affect the environment, but in different ways depending on what type of diaper is being used. For example, cloth diapers use more water and energy because they must be washed to be sanitary, yet disposable diapers produce more solid waste. More details on the studies can be found here.
Are the materials used in disposable diapers depleting our forests?
No, they are not. The pulp used in BAHP member diapers comes from well-managed sustainable forests. Pulp suppliers are generally certified by an independent third party as practicing sustainable forestry. Certification includes standards and criteria for replanting trees, protecting biodiversity, water, air and soil, and for obtaining broad stakeholder input into the forest management plan.
Yes, pulp is bleached to purify the cellulose in the wood so it will be more absorbent. The pulp is made with elemental- chlorine-free processes that do not result in the formation of dioxin or other pollutants from former pulp-making technologies. In fact, the U.S. pulp industry phased out the former elemental chlorine processes by 2001.
Tell me about the bleaching of pulp used in diapers and chlorine.
A small amount of pulp is used in disposable diapers to absorb wetness. Bleaching softens the pulp and improves the pulp’s ability to absorb fluids. Globally, pulp bleaching is most commonly done with elemental chlorine-free (ECF) processes. ECF and the less common TCF (total chlorine free) pulp bleaching methods have both been shown to be environmentally safe replacements for the previous pulp bleaching methods that used elemental chlorine. Bleaching pulp with elemental chlorine led to dioxins and other pollutants being released into the environment, so it was phased out in the 1990’s. BAHP members only use ECF or TCF pulp in the products they manufacture and neither bleaching method results in the release of harmful pollutants to the environment or into the pulp-based products.
I have read that the chlorine used to bleach the fluff pulp used in disposable diapers creates the cancer causing chemical dioxin.
That is not true. The pulp is made with elemental chlorine-free processes that do not result in the formation of dioxin or other pollutants from former pulp-making technologies. The U.S. pulp industry phased out the former elemental chlorine bleaching processes by 2001.