In recent years there have been debates abut whether cloth diapering
is truly better for the environment, especially when you take into
account the amount of hot water, electricity and detergent that goes
into their care. This environmentalist still stands firmly for cloth
however, and here's why.
According to Green America, one of the greatest concerns surrounding
disposable diapers is in regards to their creation, not their disposal.
Have you ever noticed the oddly gel-like feeling of a full disposable
diaper? What you're feeling is sodium polyacrylate crystals. Sodium
polyacrylate is capable of holding up to 300 times its weight in water,
which seems like it would be a good thing except for the fact that
absolutely no studies have been conducted to establish whether sodium
polyacrylate is dangerous to children when absorbed through the skin.
Given that it is also used in tampon manufacturing and some believe it
is a factor in Toxic Shock Syndrome, it is a definite cause for concern.
Even worse is dioxin. Green America characterizes dioxin as “a highly
toxic carcinogen and endocrine disruptor, [found] in disposable
diapers. Dioxin is a byproduct of the chlorine bleaching process, and
the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that trace amounts of
dioxin are present on disposables.”
And as a final one-two punch, one study found that lab mice exposed
to various brands of disposable diapers experienced asthma-like
symptoms, as well as eye, nose, and throat irritation. Cloth diapers did not cause any respiratory symptoms.
So, hey, maybe washing poop isn't so bad after all!