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What does Big Tobacco have to do with diapers?

Posted by Andrea/Admin on 9/16/2013

Marketing, Money and Hiding the Truth

by Andrea Foley

You know that here at Baby Junk we LOVE cloth diapers. In fact, only my first child has ever worn a disposable and that was for the 3 days he was in the NICU when he was born. Otherwise, we are a 100% cloth family. Our main reason is for the health and safety of our children. It may seem dramatic, but knowing what I do about disposables, I feel like putting them in a disposable is like exposing them to cigarette smoke. And like all of you, I wouldn’t dare do that.

These are the main ingredients in disposable diapers. You will notice it states how these are rare or it could happen…well, that is enough for me to never expose my children to them. How about you?

Sodium Polyacrylate: According to various material safety data, inhaling small particles of Sodium Polyacrylate might irritate the airways. Sodium Polyacrylate can cause allergic skin reactions, but seem to be very rare. It is sometimes mixed up with small amounts of acrylic acid, which in large doses could be harmful to a baby's skin. But according to a 2009 report in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, there isn't nearly enough acrylic acid in disposable diapers to raise concern. (The study was funded by Procter & Gamble, a major manufacturer of diapers.)

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, hundreds of women using super-absorbent tampons containing sodium polyacrylate developed toxic shock syndrome, a potentially fatal disease caused by bacterial infections. In 1985 it was removed from tampons because of all the deaths that it caused.

Dyes: The dyes used in diapers are generally safe. But in rare cases, Disperse Blue 106, Disperse Blue 124, Disperse Yellow 3, and Disperse Orange 3 have been known to trigger allergic reactions in babies.

Perfumes: Some babies are sensitive to citral and other perfumes in diapers.

Dioxins: The wood pulp in diapers gives them a little extra cushioning and absorbing power, but it can also introduce dioxins. This family of chemicals, created when wood pulp is bleached with chlorine, is known to cause cancer in humans.

Except for chlorine-free diapers, disposable diapers carry tiny amounts of dioxins. Some worry that the dioxins found in disposable diapers that have been thrown away will contaminate groundwater near landfills. Parents, of course, have a more immediate concern.1

Disposable diapers became very popular in the 1990’s when Proctor & Gamble spent an estimated $250 million dollars convincing parents that they were not bad for the environment, even though they completely abandoned this idea after parent’s made the switch!

These companies also work with hospitals, and large corporations like Target & Babies R Us to provide as many samples and discounts as possible to new parents. They are genius marketers, and again it may seem dramatic, but can you think of another BIG industry that uses genius marketing to sell their products? T.O.B.A.C.C.O

If you know anything about the history of cigarettes, you would understand why it is eerily similar to the corporate giants of disposable diapers. It all comes back down to billions of dollars to be made. I am a small local business. I know I could never sell enough cloth diapers to compete with corporate giants, that is why you know this is all about passion for me. Not billions of dollars in profits. Why don't they make and sell cloth? Because you only buy your stash once, with a few diapers here and there. You don't buy them for each and every child for extra years like you do with disposables! You could spend $500 with me OR $5,000 with them (if you have 2 kids). Now you know why they want you to use disposables so bad.

Smoking was socially popular and acceptable starting in the 1920’s and it took until 1965 for there to be a surgeon general’s warning on cigarettes.2 That is almost half a century of mindless use. Well, disposable diapers have only been this popular since the 1990’s. That is only the last 20 years. Will it be another 30 years before we even consider the true ramifications of using disposable diapers? If we exposed our children to them for longer, would they cause cancer? Unless someone other than Proctor & Gamble pays for a third-party study to be conducted or the CDC steps in, we may never know. They might not be as bad for our bodies as cigarettes, but they are definitely not harmless. And we know they are absolutely horrible for our earth.

In fact, there was a backlash in 2010 on Pampers Dry Max and all that Pampers would do is deny that their diapers were causing problems. These complaints and lawsuits came from parents who used disposables and many of them just switched brands because of it. These were not crazy cloth moms trying to give disposables a bad name. There was obviously something going on and Pampers just denied it, yet they settle a lawsuit and changed their diapers...interesting! Here is the news story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUbYs8bo-p8

Many families are switching to cloth first and foremost because of the cost savings, which trust me, is a HUGE benefit of cloth. I couldn’t imagine having to add an extra $25-$50 onto my grocery bill every week just for diapers—yikes!

Other families want to do their part for our environment. Disposable diapers do make up the 3rd highest item in our landfills today. Imagine if 80% of all families switched to cloth?!? How dramatically would that change your baby’s future planet?

I hope, like me, you will consider cloth for the health of your baby, and then get all the added benefits cloth has to offer! Even if you hate laundry, use a service! You will still save $$, protect the environment and keep your baby safe. Maybe you think I am crazy and that disposables couldn't possibly be bad for your baby, and that is fine. We all have to make choices as parents and we all have the right to raise our children how we see fit. I KNOW in my heart-of-hearts that cloth is the better choice for my children.

As long as you do your research, and you feel like you are making the right choice for your baby (regardless of what it may be) that is what matters. I have friends that are smokers and I don't judge them for that lifestyle choice. Diapers are different because your children don't have a choice, so please don't choose disposables just because that is what everyone else does or because you don't feel like learning something new.

Even if you find that you don't see any harm in your baby wearing disposables, you can't argue that you will save gobs of money and protect our planet by using cloth:)

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