The recent explosion at a Japanese chemical plant caught my attention. Since the plant was responsible for a key ingredient in diapers, there is a possibility of a diaper shortage or rising costs in diapers. With a baby in the house, I was mildly concerned about a shortage and an increase in price. However, what bothered me most was the idea that chemicals were being used in diapers. Thus, I set out to discover what chemicals are in my baby's diapers.
Our family eats a mostly organic diet. Our soap, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies are almost all plant based and natural. However, as far as diapers go, I have been using disposable diapers. Even worse is I often use the bleached, big brand kind. Obviously, I use these diapers because they are more convenient for me. The conventional types are typically cheaper than the greener brands. However, even though we are on a budget, cost and convenience are usually not deterrents for me. Thus, I am on the hunt for a more natural diaper.
What is SAP?
That key ingredient at the chemical plant is otherwise known as acrylic acid (AA). AA is used to make SAP or sodium polyacrylate. SAP is the chemical responsible for making diapers absorbent. According to healthychild.org, SAP "could cause respiratory, as well as skin, irritations in occupational settings where exposures are at much higher levels than occurs with diaper use." However, the good news is this "chemical" has been "rigorously tested" and deemed "completely safe and non-toxic." I'm not completely convinced. However, it's good to know that SAP isn't a known carcinogen.
What else is in conventional diapers?
Many disposable diapers are white in color. This often is the result of chlorine bleaching. Chlorine "may contain trace amounts of dioxin, a highly carcinogenic byproduct of chlorine bleaching." Luckily, there are many diapers that are chlorine-free. You can also find diapers that are free of petroleum based lotions. While these "natural" diapers may cost me a little more, I think it's worth it. Not having a bunch of synthetic chemicals next to my baby's skin makes me feel better.
The Japanese chemical plant explosion may not result in a diaper shortage. It may or may not increase the price of diapers. However, one thing it has caused me to do is think about what I put on my baby's bum almost 24 hours a day. I'm definitely going to go with a more natural diaper and I may even try cloth diapers.